Parent-implemented interventions (PIIs) can be useful in promoting parents’ knowledge of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and in transferring necessary skills to children with ASD. Individuals with ASD can directly and indirectly benefit from PIIs in terms of academics, ASD symptom severity, behavior improvement, cognition, communication, and social skills. Many studies have explored the efficacy of PIIs; however, they have tended to report mixed effects. Previous meta-analyses and systematic reviews have been characterized by limited search terms and literature search procedures, emphases on published manuscripts, dependency on parent reports, dated findings, and comparisons across of different types of control groups. This study attempts to improve on the methodology of prior meta-analyses and to update findings of the effectiveness of PIIs for children and youth with ASD. We located 1925 studies at initial manuscript search in 9 databases. After additional search from other sources, 43 studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies with same participants were merged that yield 40 records for final data coding. Eligible studies coded in Dyches et al.’s meta-analysis (2018) combined with current data resulted in 53 randomized controlled trials for data analysis. The random effects model meta-analysis found a moderate and statistically significant effect (g = 0.55, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.65, p < 0.00001) on overall weighted effect size across 53 studies included. PIIs can improve child outcomes in positive behavior/social skill (g = 0.603), maladaptive behavior (g = 0.519), adaptive behavior/life skills (g = 0.239), and language/communication (g = 0.545). These findings are inconclusive and should be interpreted with caution, especially adaptive behavior/life skill because only six studies reported outcomes on that variable. No moderating variables were identified in post hoc random effects weighted analyses. Implications for future research are discussed.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





parent-implemented intervention, program implementation, autism, meta-analysis, randomized control trials



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Education Commons