Date of Award

6-18-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Gurmal Rattan, Ph.D., NCSP

Second Advisor

William F. Barker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Timothy J. Runge, Ph.D., NCSP

Fourth Advisor

Carla A. Mazefsky, Ph.D.

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a developmental disability of neurobiological origin which affects approximately 1 in 110 to 1 in 160 individuals. Despite the fact that an ASD can be identified in children as young as 18 months of age, a great majority of these children are not identified until they are of school age. School psychologists often rely on the use of behavioral rating scales during a school-based evaluation. However, many of the behavior rating scales that have been developed for ASDs have demonstrated questionable psychometric properties. The Child Behavior Checklist/ 6-18 (CBCL/ 6-18; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001) is one of the few broadband rating scales that is used by school psychologists during evaluations. Prior research has demonstrated the utility of the CBCL to screen for behaviors commonly associated with an ASD. The Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS; Constantino & Gruber, 2005) is one of the few narrow band rating scales used in the determination of an autism diagnosis with strong psychometric properties. The goal of the current study was to determine the utility of the CBCL/ 6-18 in screening for an ASD using school-aged children with high functioning autism. The profiles of the CBCL/ 6-18 and SRS scores were examined using 54 Caucasian male children between the ages of 6 and 18. Pearson’s correlations (r) were analyzed to determine the relationship among CBCL/ 6-18 and SRS scores. Multiple linear regression (MLR) analyses were conducted to determine which CBCL/ 6-18 scales were more diagnostically informative of a possible ASD diagnosis. iv Results indicated a similar profile of CBCL/ 6-18 scores when compared to prior research using the CBCL with individuals with autism. Results indicated a statistically significant association (p < .003 Bonferroni adjusted) between several of the SRS scales and the CBCL/ 6-18 scales. MLR analyses revealed that the best predictor model of SRS Total score was the model consisting of the CBCL/ 6-18 Social Problems, Withdrawn/Depressed, and Thought Problems scales. This study provides further support for the utility of the CBCL/ 6-18 as a brief screening measure for an ASD. Implications of these findings and recommendations for further research are discussed.

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