• Stigma of living as an autism carer: a brief psycho-social support intervention (SOLACE). Study protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study.

      Lodder, Annemarie; Papadopoulos, Chris; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire (Biomed Central, 2019-02-26)
      Stigma is prominent in the lives of autistic individuals and their families and contributes significantly to the challenges faced by families raising an autistic child. Parents and carers can feel blamed for their child's behaviour, feel socially excluded and isolated and suffer from low self-esteem and poor psychological well-being. This increases the risk of experiencing self-stigma which further exacerbates these and other negative consequences. Therefore, there is a need for interventions that help parents/family carers cope with autism-related stigma as well as prevent the internalisation of stigma. The primary objective of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a stigma support intervention for parents and carers of autistic children titled 'Stigma of Living as an Autism Carer (SOLACE)'. The secondary objective is to explore the preliminary impact of the intervention on the mental health of the parents and carers. tests for differences within the group. Other outcomes of interest are stigma, self-stigma, self-esteem, self-blame, social isolation, self-compassion and perceived responsibility and control. Results from the feasibility randomised controlled trial will be used to refine the study protocol and inform the design of an intervention for future use in a larger, powered trial. SOLACE could potentially improve the psychological well-being of parents/family carers of autistic children through increased resistance to stigma. ISRCTN Registry number ISRCTN61093625 (October 13, 2017).