Impact of Dance Movement Psychotherapy on the Wellbeing of Caregivers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Sustaining the wellbeing of caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be highly demanding. This study explored the impact of DMP intervention on the wellbeing of caregivers in comparison with their standard care routine.
Study design
This pilot evaluation study used a quasi-experimental design.
Thirty-seven caregivers of children with ASD were recruited from two special educational needs settings and were allocated to the DMP intervention or the control group depending on their availability to attend the sessions. The participants in the intervention group received five DMP sessions lasting 90 minutes each. Adult Wellbeing Scale (AWS) and Parenting Stress Index- Short Form (PSI-SF) were the two outcome measures that were administered before and after DMP to measure the impact of DMP intervention on caregiver’s wellbeing and parental stress.
The retention rates were poor, with only 50% of participants in the DMP intervention arm attending at least 70% of the sessions until its end. The Minimal Clinically Important Difference (MCID) was achieved for a small effect size in both outcome measures in the DMP intervention group but not in the control group. Results from the ANCOVAs showed a significant difference in post-intervention scores between the DMP intervention and the control group for AWS (F1,33 = 106.474, P<0.001) but not for PSI-SF. In addition, a significant association was found between pre-intervention scores and the number of sessions attended with the post-intervention scores of both AWS and PSI-SF.
The results of this pilot DMP study are promising. However, before running a larger randomised controlled trial, strategies to support caregivers to attend the intervention need to be considered carefully.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-115
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health
Early online date28 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • ASD
  • Caregivers
  • Dance movement psychotherapy
  • Parenting stress
  • Teachers
  • Wellbeing

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing

Research Groups

  • Children and Young People Research Network


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