Circle of Security intervention for parents of children with a learning disability.

Nicola Birdsey

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


The Circle of Security Parenting programme (COS-P) is gaining global popularity and acquiring emerging empirical support. Researchers are increasingly interested in its effectiveness in enhancing parent-child attachment, improving parent psychological flexibility and reducing parental stress. However, research to date has predominantly focused on parents of typically developing children and, despite the COS-P intervention being used as a parenting programme in Specialist Services for Children with learning Disabilities (SSCLD), there is no clear evidence that this programme meets the diverse needs of parents who encounter additional challenges that may impact on the development of secure parent-child attachment relationships. This study evaluates a seven-session Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) programme for parents of children with learning disabilities (LD). Participants completed pre- and post-intervention outcome measures specified by COS-P, including: the Parental Stress Scale (PSS), Parental Acceptance Questionnaire (6-PAQ), Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II (AAQ-II) and the Caregiver Helplessness Questionnaire (CHQ,). Additional qualitative data are discussed to provide context to the findings. Results indicate no improvements in parental stress or psychological flexibility but marginal reductions in parental helplessness and fear. Qualitative data revealed that COS-P highlights differences in parenting a child with a learning disability, which may impact on engagement with the programme. Further research is needed to identify evidence-based programmes that meet the needs of this population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUniversity of Bath Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Research Conference.
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2019


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