Objectives: The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a group-based parent and teen curriculum designed to (a) increase adolescents’ fitness-related motor skills, (b) improve adolescents’ sleep, (c) increase adolescents’ healthy eating, (d) improve adolescents’ relaxation skills, (e) increase parents’ confidence in being able to create healthy lifestyle changes at home, and (f) increase families’ reported quality of life.
Methods: Twenty-two adolescents (14 male, 8 female) ages 12-16 (m = 14.27; SD =1.12) and their parents were recruited for the current study. A wait-list control was used to compare groups. Participants attended 90 minute, weekly sessions for 12 weeks. Teen and parent groups included fitness exercises and a healthy lifestyle curriculum covering a variety of topics (e.g., healthy eating, positive sleep habits). Preliminary analyses of pre and post group measures included parent reports of individualized goal attainment.
Results: Data analysis is currently underway. Results suggest that parents made progress towards accomplishing their personal goals for participation in the group; 85% of parents (n = 20) indicated a rating of 3 or higher on a 5 point likert scale for goal accomplishment at post-group. Parents were also asked to identify a specific goal prior to the start of group and indicate their child’s level of goal attainment pre- and post- group. Goal attainment ratings (0-5 scale) were high for all parents post-group (t (18) = -7.52, p < .0001), though specific goals varied greatly across families. Common themes arose as issues facing youth with ASDs (e.g., motivation to exercise and variety of food choices). Further analyses will compare pre-post changes in adolescent’s quality of life, social functioning, activity level, and problem behavior.
Conclusions: Preliminary findings demonstrate the appropriateness of group-based parent and teen psycho-education and activity programming for addressing health and fitness for youth with ASDs. Limitations and recommendations for future research directions in health and fitness will be discussed.
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