Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder known for deficits in language and social skills. It is often associated with maladaptive behaviors. Studies have indicated that these behaviors in children lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression in mothers. This study examines the effects of parent-implemented Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and behavioral activation (BA) on reducing problem behaviors and increasing maternal wellness. The single subject study was conducted with three mothers (between the ages of 30 and 45) and their three children (between the ages of 5 and 7) with autism spectrum disorder. The results of this study demonstrate that while PBS implementation does reduce problem behaviors, it does not significantly impact maternal well-being. Results indicated that two of the three mothers were able to implement PBS interventions and their children demonstrated significant behavioral improvements. These mothers also engaged in high levels of valued activities both at baseline and during intervention and showed few depression symptoms. The third mother was not able to implement the interventions and her child demonstrated little behavioral progress. This mother showed signs of depression and did not make gains in this area. Further research may want to examine the relationship between behavioral activation and respite care, as well as the role of socioeconomic status.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





autism, maternal depression, problem behaviors, behavioral activation, positive behavior support, respite care