Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Tammy Barry

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Christopher Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Roberty Lyman

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The current study examined how certain endophenotypes (i.e., local processing ability, mental flexibility, planning, and disinhibition /inhibition) are related to specific expressed behaviors (i.e., acting out behaviors, social insight deficits, social contact problems, anxious/rigid behaviors, and stereotypical behaviors) that are commonly found in children with ASD. In addition, this study examined whether these associations are modified by age or IQ. Participants consisted of 29 children (ages 7 to 16 years) with ASD and their parents. Parents completed the Children’s Social Behavior Questionnaire (CSBQ) to assess their child’s variety of expressed behaviors. The children were given the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test—Second Edition to assess IQ, an Embedded Figures Test to assess local processing ability, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task to assess mental flexibility, the Tower of London task to assess planning ability, and a Go/No Go task to assess disinhibition/inhibition. It was expected that local processing ability would be positively related with social contact problems, social insight problems, anxious/rigid behaviors, and stereotypical behaviors. Mental flexibility was expected to be negatively related with social contact problems, social insight problems, anxious/rigid behaviors, and stereotypical behaviors. Planning abilities were expected to be negatively related with acting out behaviors and social insight problems. Disinhibition was expected to be positively related with acting out behaviors, and inhibition was expected to be positively related with anxious/rigid behaviors. Also, it was expected that age and IQ would moderate the relations between endophenotypes and expressed behaviors such that older age and higher IQ will attenuate the relations. However, these predictions were unsupported, potentially largely due to a small sample size leading to low power. Limitations of the study and suggestions for further research to better understand underlying factors that relate to these expressed behaviors are discussed.

Share

COinS