Enablers of Behavioral Parent Training for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tracy J. Raulston, Meme Hieneman, Nell Caraway, Jordan Pennefather, Naima Bhana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at an increased risk to develop problem behavior, which can have deleterious effects on child and parental well-being. Because of this, parents are often provided with Behavioral Parent Training (BPT). However, attrition rates in BPT are high, and there is a relative dearth of research investigating factors that influence parental engagement in BPT. Methods: We ran seven semi-structured online focus groups with a total of 30 parents of children with ASD and related disabilities. Parents were interviewed in order to gain a greater understanding of variables that enable or pose barriers to parental engagement in BPT. An inductive qualitative analysis was conducted by two independent authors. Results: Our analyses revealed three themes indicating the need for (a) supportive, professional feedback; (b) accessible, flexible, and affordable training; and (c) social-emotional support and community connection in BPT for parents of children with ASD. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that parental engagement in BPT for children with ASD may be enhanced if it is relevant to the needs of families, facilitated by responsive professionals, flexible, and readily accessible. Additionally, parents may benefit from BPT that includes social and emotional support, such as assistance connecting with other families and evidence-based strategies to manage the stress associated with parenting a child with ASD and challenging behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-703
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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