Parent and Family Outcomes of PEERS: A Social Skills Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Jeffrey S. Karst, Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Audrey M. Carson, Sheryl Stevens, Kirsten Schohl, Bridget Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is associated with increased family chaos and parent distress. Successful long-term treatment outcomes are dependent on healthy systemic functioning, but the family impact of treatment is rarely evaluated. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) is a social skills intervention designed for adolescents with high-functioning ASD. This study assessed the impact of PEERS on family chaos, parenting stress, and parenting self-efficacy via a randomized, controlled trial. Results suggested beneficial effects for the experimental group in the domain of family chaos compared to the waitlist control, while parents in the PEERS experimental group also demonstrated increased parenting self-efficacy. These findings highlight adjunctive family system benefits of PEERS intervention and suggest the need for overall better understanding of parent and family outcomes of ASD interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-765
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was part of a doctoral dissertation and was supported by grants from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) as well as the Marquette University Forward Thinking Program. Collaboration and guidance for implementation of PEERS was provided by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Autism
  • Caregivers
  • Intervention
  • Parents


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