Using mindfulness to improve quality of life in caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder

Journal article


Singh, Nirbhay N., Lancioni, Giulio E., Medvedev, Oleg N., Hwang, Yoon-Suk, Myers, Rachel E. and Townshend, Kishani. (2020). Using mindfulness to improve quality of life in caregivers of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities. 66(5), pp. 370-380. https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2020.1827211
AuthorsSingh, Nirbhay N., Lancioni, Giulio E., Medvedev, Oleg N., Hwang, Yoon-Suk, Myers, Rachel E. and Townshend, Kishani
Abstract

Objectives
Caring for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be gratifying as well as stressful. Professional staff employed as caregivers often report compromised mental and physical wellbeing due to the stressful nature of working with clients who exhibit aggressive and destructive behaviors. Prolonged work-related stress results in diminished quality of life for the caregivers. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the comparative effects of three programs—mindfulness program, psychoeducational program, and inservice training-as-usual—on the quality of life of professional caregivers who provide services to adolescent and adult clients with ID and ASD

Methods
Professional caregivers (N = 216) were randomized into three experimental conditions, and trained in mindfulness, psychoeducation, and inservice training-as-usual. The effects of the training on the caregivers’ quality of life were assessed in terms of perceived stress, compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue (i.e. burnout, secondary traumatic stress), and symptoms of depression at the end of 32 weeks of implementation.

Results
Perceived stress, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress decreased significantly in the mindfulness condition, followed by psychoeducation, but not in the inservice training-as-usual condition. Compassion satisfaction increased significantly in the mindfulness condition, followed by psychoeducation, but not in the inservice training-as-usual condition. Symptoms of depression, which were rated in the borderline clinical range prior to intervention, decreased significantly to within normal levels in the mindfulness condition, decreased minimally in the psychoeducation condition, and showed no change in the training-as usual condition.

Conclusions
A 3-day training in mindfulness meditations and associated contemplative practices provides a better basis for enhancing caregivers’ quality of life than psychoeducation or inservice training-as-usual.

Keywordsdevelopmental disabilities; caregivers; MBPBS; mindfulness; psychoeducation; inservice training; stress; burnout
Year2020
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Journal citation66 (5), pp. 370-380
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN2047-3869
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/20473869.2020.1827211
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85094839891
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range370-380
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online27 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Sep 2020
Deposited18 May 2021
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