Title

Adaptive Behavior and the Strength of Autism Characteristics

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Myra Beth Bundy

Department Affiliation

Psychology

Second Advisor

Dustin B. Wygant

Department Affiliation

Psychology

Third Advisor

Jonathan S. Gore

Department Affiliation

Psychology

Abstract

Adaptive behavior refers to the practical skills needed to navigate everyday life and the daily environment. Although differences in adaptive behavior are not a core characteristic of ASD, these differences are often seen clinically and have been routinely researched. Often those with ASD seem to have particular challenges in adaptive behavior areas involving social interaction and communication, which is logical given these are core distinctions of ASD. The present study involves looking at correlations between ADOS-2 Comparison Scores and SIB-R Social Interaction and Communication Skills scores to examine the relationship between the strength of autism characteristics and adaptive functioning. Results showed that individuals had lower adaptive behavior scores than would be expected for their level of cognitive functioning. Age and the degree of autistic characteristics were found to interact in such a way that older individuals with a greater endorsement of autism had higher adaptive skills, and younger individuals typically had lower adaptive functioning. Despite this relationship, only IQ was found to predict adaptive functioning scores in the current sample.

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