Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2013

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Author's Keywords

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Intervention, Parent education, Foster families, Child behavior, Parent stress, Parent attitudes

Subject

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Abstract

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) refers to the group of conditions that results when a developing fetus is exposed to alcohol and is considered one of the leading causes of mental retardation and birth defects in the United States. Children with FASD typically have emotional and behavioral disabilities as well as poor academic functioning. Few empirically supported programs have been specifically designed for parents of children FASD. The present work aimed to evaluate a new FASD intervention and to identify characteristics of families raising a child with FASD. Thirty-one families with children ranging from 2 to 11 years of age participated in a 3-hour parent education program, which included educational information, discussions with FASD experts and other parents, and an evaluation of the intervention. Results showed that parents felt a great deal of stress and more than a third had elevated symptoms of depression. In addition, children scored high on intensity and severity of behavior problems. Families reported that the education program was valuable and increased their understanding of their child both initially and after one year. A statistically significant decrease in problem behaviors was seen one-year after the intervention, but parent stress was found to stay the same.

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