A non randomized mentalization intervention for parents of children with autism

Yael Enav, Dana Erhard-Weiss, Mirit Kopelman, Andrea C. Samson, Smriti Mehta, James J. Gross, Antonio Y. Hardan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) report higher levels of stress and other negative affective states than parents of typically developing children. One important resource in managing these heightened levels of negative affect is emotion regulation, which in turn depends upon the ability to recognize and understand one's own and others' mental states (referred to as mentalization or reflective functioning). In this study, parents of children with ASD either participated in a mentalization-based group intervention (N = 36) or a delayed treatment (N = 28). Compared to delayed treatment participants, parents in the mentalization-based group had increases in reflective functioning and in the belief that emotions can change. Moreover, they reported decreased behavioral and emotional symptoms in their children, and greater parental self-efficacy. These preliminary findings support previous studies, which have shown that mentalization-based interventions for parents lead to positive outcomes, and suggest that these findings may apply to a diverse population of parents such as those of children with broader autism phenotype or children with different neurological disorders. Further studies to evaluate the effects of the intervention are recommended. Autism Res 2019, 12: 1077–1086.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1086
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • autism
  • emotion regulation
  • group intervention
  • mentalization
  • parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A non randomized mentalization intervention for parents of children with autism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this