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      Enhancing self-esteem in adults with autism spectrum disorders: a pilot cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) group intervention

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          Psychosocial risk factors and high rates of psychiatric comorbidity render individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vulnerable to developing low self-esteem (LSE). Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions are effective for enhancing self-esteem in typically developing populations, but the degree to which they are clinically beneficial for individuals with ASD has been little explored. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

          Design/methodology/approach

          A pilot group intervention was undertaken to investigate the effectiveness and acceptability of CBT for LSE in adults with ASD. Adaptations to standard protocols were made, in order to accommodate core ASD characteristics.

          Findings

          Four participants attended eight sessions: these comprised formulation of causal and maintaining mechanisms for LSE, cognitive interventions designed to reduce self-criticism and promote a more balanced self-view, and behavioural interventions intended to increase engagement in enjoyable activities, and enhance problem-solving skills and assertiveness. Self-report questionnaires were completed at four time points: baseline, at the first and last sessions, and at one-month follow-up. Data analysis indicated no change in the primary self-esteem outcome measure. Some improvements were noted on secondary outcomes, specifically in social anxiety and depressive symptoms, and general functioning.

          Research limitations/implications

          Further studies are needed to determine how to design and deliver CBT interventions and techniques which target LSE in individuals with ASD.

          Originality/value

          This is one of the first CBT group interventions designed to address LSE in adults with ASD.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 27

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          “The measurement of self-esteem,” in

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            Toward the Development of a New Self-Report Alexithymia Scale

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              Exploring the Nature and Function of Anxiety in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                AIA
                10.1108/AIA
                Advances in Autism
                AIA
                Emerald Publishing
                2056-3868
                03 April 2017
                : 3
                : 2
                : 66-75
                Affiliations
                Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London , London, UK
                Adult Autism Services, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Maudsley Hospital, London, UK
                Author notes
                Debbie Spain can be contacted at: debbie.spain@kcl.ac.uk
                Article
                591770 AIA-06-2016-0018.pdf AIA-06-2016-0018
                10.1108/AIA-06-2016-0018
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 42, Pages: 10, Words: 4531
                Product
                Categories
                research-article, Research paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata
                yes
                yes
                JOURNAL
                included

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