Development and pre-feasibility testing of SPECIFiC: A psychoeducation programme for caregivers of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Alan D. Price*, Raja A. S. Mukherjee, Anna Webster, David Tate, Clare S. Allely, Sarah Brown, Joanna Buckard, Larry Burd, Sandra Butcher, Jennifer Shields, Penny A. Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A growing number of evidence-based services are available for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), but few focus on caregiver psychoeducation. Despite new guidance in the UK requiring FASD services, the evidence base for effective interventions is currently lacking. An FASD caregiver training program would be a novel and valuable addition to service provision. SPECIFiC (Salford parents and carers education course for improvements in FASD outcomes in children) was developed using an evidence-based logic model with input from clinicians, families, and the charity sector. The course was delivered online to a small number (n = 9) of families in a mixed-methods, exploratory pre-feasibility study. Families were represented by either one or two caregivers, all of whom were adoptive parents or special guardians of a child with FASD. Parent perceptions were assessed using semi-structured interviews. The performance of proposed outcome measures (stress, psychological functioning, parenting self-efficacy, knowledge of FASD, and child behavioral difficulties) was evaluated. Pre- and post-measures were acceptable and showed promise as outcome measures for a future trial. Participants spoke positively about the course, welcomed the opportunity to discuss their own situations with other FASD caregivers, found the advice to be immediately useful, and described the course as therapeutic. Suggestions for improvements tended to focus on timing and technical issues. Based on a small sample, SPECIFiC was shown to be an acceptable and feasible psychoeducation program. Further evidence from a randomized controlled trial is needed to evaluate whether SPECIFiC can lead to reduced stress in parents, improved parenting self-efficacy, and ultimately a reduction in children’s behavioral difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3026-3041
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number10
Early online date28 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • FASD
  • psychoeducation
  • parenting
  • intervention development
  • mixed methods


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