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A Pilot Trial of a Culturally Adapted Intervention to Prevent Self-harm in Young People with Autis

Principal Investigator(s):

Nadia Shafique, M.D., and Nasim Chaudhry, Ph.D.

Grant Type:

Applied Research




Foundation University Islamabad and Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning

Year Awarded:



In Progress


Behavior, Emotions, Mental Health


Self-harm and suicidal behaviors are more prevalent in young persons with Autism than in neurotypical people. Impaired social communication, peer victimization, child maltreatment, low self-esteem, social ostracism, lack of social support, and psychiatric comorbidity have all been recognized as potential risk factors. No documented research has been conducted on the mental health risk factors and prevention of self-harming behaviors in the autistic population in low-middle-income countries, which frequently co-occur with self-injurious behaviours. The proposed study will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of adapted Youth culturally adapted manual assisted psychological intervention (YCMAP) based on cognitive behaviour therapy for young PwA in Pakistan which has been demonstrated to be an evidence-based intervention for reducing self-harm in the general population. A total of 80 participants will be recruited, ages ranging from 18 to 24 years, and capable of giving consent and communicating. Participants will either receive 1) YCMAP or 2) treatment as Usual. Assessment will be carried out at 2 points (pre and post-assessment in 3rd month) by using the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, Card sort Task for Self-harm Behavior, and Euro-Qol. Overall, there will be 8 to 10 sessions delivered individually lasting for 60 minutes. The results will inform the design of future adequately powered multi-site clinical and cost-effectiveness randomised controlled trials.