A Person-Centered Approach in Investigating a Mindfulness-Based Program for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Anna Ridderinkhof, Mette Elmose*, Esther I. de Bruin, René Blom, Sandra Salem-Guirgis, Jonathan A. Weiss, Paulien van der Meer, Nirbhay N. Singh, Susan M. Bögels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Objectives: Adolescents with autism often experience comorbid internalizing disorders such as anxiety disorders or depression but the available evidence-based treatments to support the mental health of adolescents with autism are limited. The aim of this study was to investigate if and how MYmind, a mindfulness-based program (MBP) for youth with autism, could benefit adolescents with comorbid internalizing disorder(s). Methods: A person-centered approach with a multiple baseline design was used to investigate the effects of MYmind. Five adolescents with autism and an internalizing disorder took part in the 9-week MYmind program. The adolescents and their parents completed a daily questionnaire on their personal goals during a baseline phase, the intervention, a 2-month follow-up phase, and a 1-year follow-up phase. We analyzed the effects on their personal goals using visual inspection and statistical analysis for single-case designs. Also, we investigated potential processes of change by analyzing how changes were related over time. Results: Findings indicated that most, but not all, adolescents benefitted from the MBP. Four out of five adolescents showed medium-sized improvement in some of their personal goals. However, one adolescent reported a deterioration during the intervention and 2-month follow-up phase. Decreased worry preceded behavioral improvements in two adolescents, whereas other potential mechanisms of change showed inconclusive results. Conclusion: The findings indicated that most of the adolescents with autism and a comorbid internalizing disorder partially benefitted from the MBP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMindfulness
Volume12
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2394-2414
ISSN1868-8527
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Mechanisms of change
  • Mindfulness-based program
  • Person-centered approach
  • Single-case design

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