The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) conceptual model to promote mental health for adolescents with ASD

Shochet, Ian M., Saggers, Beth R., Carrington, Suzanne B., Orr, Jayne A., Wurfl, Astrid M., Duncan, Bonnie, & Smith, Coral L. (2016) The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) conceptual model to promote mental health for adolescents with ASD. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 19(2), pp. 94-116.

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Despite an increased risk of mental health problems in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is limited research on effective prevention approaches for this population. Funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism, a theoretically and empirically supported school-based preventative model has been developed to alter the negative trajectory and promote wellbeing and positive mental health in adolescents with ASD. This conceptual paper provides the rationale, theoretical, empirical and methodological framework of a multilayered intervention targeting the school, parents, and adolescents on the spectrum. Two important interrelated protective factors have been identified in community adolescent samples, namely the sense of belonging (connectedness) to school, and the capacity for self and affect regulation in the face of stress (i.e., resilience). We describe how a confluence of theories from social psychology, developmental psychology and family systems theory, along with empirical evidence (including emerging neurobiological evidence) supports the interrelationships between these protective factors and many indices of wellbeing. However, the characteristics of ASD (including social and communication difficulties, and frequently difficulties with changes and transitions, and diminished optimism and self-esteem) impair access to these vital protective factors. The paper describes how evidenced-based interventions at the school level for promoting inclusive schools (using the Index for Inclusion), and interventions for adolescents and parents to promote resilience and belonging (using the Resourceful Adolescent Program (RAP)), are adapted and integrated for adolescents with ASD. This multisite proof of concept study will confirm whether this multilevel school-based intervention is promising, feasible and sustainable.

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ID Code: 94930
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, adolescent mental health, school connectedness, resilience, self and affect regulation, school-based intervention
DOI: 10.1007/s10567-016-0203-4
ISSN: 1573-2827
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via
Deposited On: 17 Apr 2016 23:34
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2016 08:56

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