An Israeli RCT of PEERS®: Intervention Effectiveness and the Predictive Value of Parental Sensitivity

S. J. Rabin, E. A. Laugeson, I. Mor-Snir, O. Golan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: A Randomized Controlled Trial was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Hebrew adaptation of the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®), a parent-assisted intervention. Parental sensitivity (PS), measured in conflict and support contexts, was assessed as a predictor of adolescents’ intervention-related outcomes. Design: Eighty-two Hebrew-speaking adolescents (9 females), aged 12–17 years, and their parents (62 mothers), were randomly allocated into immediate intervention (II; n = 40) or delayed intervention control (DI; n = 42) groups. Participants were tested at three time-points (Pre-Post-Follow Up for II, Pre-Pre-Post for DI). Outcome measures included behavioral assessments of adolescents’ social communication (SC), a social-skills knowledge test, and self, parent, and teacher reported questionnaires. PS was assessed using support and conflict parent-adolescent interactions. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to assess intervention effectiveness. SEM was used to examine PS pre- and post-intervention as predictors of adolescents’ immediate and follow-up outcomes. Results: The II group improved on adolescents’ measured SC and social knowledge, on parent-(but not teacher-) reported social skills, and on self-reported empathy. Gains maintained at follow-up. The DI group showed similar gains following their intervention. Adolescents’ intervention-related SC gains were negatively predicted by pre-intervention PS, and positively predicted by intervention-related PS changes in the support context. Pre-intervention PS in the conflict context positively predicted adolescent SC at follow-up. Conclusions: The Hebrew-adapted PEERS® is an effective intervention for adolescents with ASD. PS plays an important role in the promotion of SC in adolescents with ASD and should receive clinical attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-949
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), grant number 1009/15 The authors are grateful to Sandra Israel-Yaacov, and to the clinical and administrative staff of the Bayit Echad centers of the Association for Children at Risk, for their support in recruiting, assessing and running PEERS®. We are grateful to Roni Navon, Elisheva Miron, Roni Golan, Hanale Gilberg, Shulamit Deitch, Noa Reinhardt, Lior Weil, Anat Chomsky and Heli Cohen, who assisted with data collection and coding, and to Tehlia Singer, Tamar Feldman, and Prof. Ruth Feldman, for their invaluable support with CIB coding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.


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