Journal article

Proof of Concept: A Brief Psycho-Educational Training Program to Increase the Use of Positive Emotion Regulation Strategies in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Frontiers
Published in:
  • Frontiers in Psychology. - 2021, no. 12
English Attenuated positive emotions and difficulties in regulating emotions are frequently observed in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and are linked to increased risk of affective disorders, problematic behaviors, and impaired socio-emotional functioning. As such, interventions specifically focused on positive emotion regulation (ER) skills could be very valuable for individuals with ASD, their caregivers, and therapists. However, the field of positive ER in ASD is under-researched. The present study aimed at testing the practical potential and the preliminary effects of a brief novel psycho-educational training program on positive ER for individuals with ASD. Thirty male participants with ASD (aged 10–35years; Ntraining=14, Nwaitlist=16) underwent a three-session program on the use of adaptive positive ER strategies (i.e., attentional deployment, cognitive change, and response modulation). Participants rated the program as easy to understand, interesting, pleasant, and likable. No dropouts or adverse effects were observed. The training group showed a significant increase in the self-reported use of the ER strategies compared to the waitlist group. The increase in the use of ER strategies maintained up to 7 weeks in the overall sample. Having reached high satisfaction rates and the intended effects in this proof of concept study, this novel program represents a promising tool to support ER. Future research should next investigate the efficacy of the intervention on day-to-day emotional experience and wellbeing.
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