Hastings RP, Symes MD  Res Dev Disabil  2002 Sep-Oct;23(5):332-41


Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


Several authors have suggested that the quality of therapist performance accounts for some of the variability in outcomes observed in early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. However, there is a distinct lack of theoretical and empirical work addressing therapist performance in this context. In the present study, we explored predictors of one variable, beliefs about one’s efficacy in the therapeutic role, that may be related to therapist performance. Eighty-five UK mothers who were acting as therapists for their child’s program completed a questionnaire survey. Results showed that program variables (e.g., number of hours of therapy each week, time since program started) were unrelated to maternal therapeutic self-efficacy. However, support received from the program, the severity of the child’s autism, and maternal stress were significant predictors. Regression analysis also showed that maternal stress mediated the impact of support from the program and autism severity on maternal therapeutic self-efficacy. Limitations of the study, suggestions for future research, and practical implications are briefly discussed. In particular, we advocate a role for supervisors in analyzing and developing interventions for therapist behavior.

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