Video‐based interventions promoting social behavioural skills for autistic children and young people: An evidence and gap map

Karen McConnell*, Ciara Keenan, Catherine Storey, Allen Thurston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Video‐based interventions (VBIs) are an approach that can be used to promote social behavioural skills for autistic children and young people. Despite an abundance of literature in this area, previous evidence syntheses are limited by their exclusive search strategies and eligibility criteria. Therefore, there is a lack of comprehensive evidence syntheses to provide insight on whether these interventions work, for whom, and in what circumstances. Evidence and Gap Maps (EGMs) are used to collate vast literature on a broad topic area such as this, highlighting areas for synthesis, and identifying gaps for future research.

Objectives: To identify, map and synthesise existing primary research on VBIs promoting social behavioural skills for autistic children and young people, creating a live, searchable and publicly available EGM.

Search Methods: Searches were conducted in electronic databases (n = 8), web search engines, and other repositories including published papers and grey literature. The search strategy was developed around two concepts including (1) terms related to autism, and (2) terms related to VBIs. Searches were conducted in May 2021.

Selection Criteria: All primary studies evaluating the effectiveness of VBIs in promoting social behaviours for autistic children and young people aged 3–18 were included in the EGM.

Data Collection and Analysis: Search results were imported into Eppi‐Reviewer where duplicates of identical studies were removed. Titles and abstracts were then screened by two independent reviewers. Potentially eligible full texts were located and also screened by two reviewers. Data were then extracted on study design, participant characteristics, type of intervention, type of outcome, and country of study, by one of three reviewers. EPPI‐Mapper was used to create the interactive EGM.

Main Results: The current EGM contains 438 studies reporting on 394 single subject research designs, 25 randomised controlled trials, 15 non‐randomised group designs, and 8 pretest–posttest designs. Included studies evaluated VBIs in all male (n = 238), mixed gender (n = 172) or all female (n = 17) samples. VBIs employed included video modelling (n = 273), video self‐ modelling (n = 82), point‐of‐view modelling (n = 61), video prompting (n = 57), video feedback (n = 12) and computer‐based video instruction (n = 4). The most frequently used models were adults (n = 191) and peers (n = 135). In relation to social outcomes, almost half evaluated social engagement (n = 199) with limited studies looking at safety (n = 9) and community (n = 7) skills.

Authors' Conclusions: This EGM provides a valuable resource for policy‐makers, practitioners, researchers, funders and members of the public to access evidence on VBIs promoting social behavioural skills in autistic children and young people. The map has identified areas of sufficient research where evidence can undergo synthesis. In addition, important gaps in the evidence were highlighted and suggest further research is warranted in all female samples and less frequently evaluated types of VBIs and social outcomes. Evidence included in this EGM will be further explored via systematic review and meta‐analysis on control group designs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1405
Number of pages16
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number2
Early online date03 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Video-based interventions
  • children and young people
  • Social behaviour
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Evidence and gap map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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  • ESI Fellowship Scheme

    McConnell, Karen (Recipient), 01 Mar 2021

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

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