Title : Quasi-experimental study: Effects of stress reduction training on military parents of children with Autism
The purpose of this quantitative, quasi-experimental study was to examine the effects of HeartMath stressreduction techniques on the stress level and levels of well-being of military parents of children with autism who participated in the Strengthening Parenting Resilience Workshop. They were compared to the military parents of children with autism who did not participate in the Strengthening Parenting Resilience Workshop. The sample consisted of seven military parents for the experimental group and eight military parents for the control group. Participants were affiliated with the US Navy and Marine Corps service branch and were living in the southern region of California. Both groups completed the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)-14 and Parental Stress Index-Short Form (PSI-SF) 36-items, and Ryff’s Psychological Well-being Scale (PWBS) questionnaires at pretest and posttest. The results of the Wilcoxon signed-rank test were that although both null hypotheses were not rejected, the PSI-SF Total Stress, PSI-SF Parental Distress, and Ryff’s PWB’s dimension on autonomy showed statistically significant results in the experimental group. Future research maybe necessary to reexamine the effects of HeartMath stress-reduction techniques with a larger sample size from other military setting easier to access. The limitations of the study include inadequate sample size and unequal numbers for the experimental and control group. The clinical relevance is the importance of helping military parents with autism spectrum disorder children to deal with their many difficulties.