Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Embargo Period

12-5-2015

Degree Program

Communication Disorders

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

May

Advisor Name

Mary

Advisor Middle Initial

V.

Advisor Last Name

Andrianopoulos

Third Advisor Name

Mary Lynn

Third Advisor Last Name

Boscardin

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that may affect several aspects of communication, including social and pragmatic functioning. There is a paucity of research in general involving adults with ASD, especially in the United States. Moreover, the strand of research that is significantly lacking involves the quality of life among adults with ASD. While considering the increase in the prevalence of ASD, it is important to empirically investigate the Quality of Life (QoL) of adults with ASD. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines QoL as, “the individual’s perception of their position in life… ranging from the person’s physical health, psychological state, level of independence, social relationships, personal beliefs, and their relationship to salient features of their environment” (WHO; The WHOQoL Group, 1995). A review of the literature evaluating the QoL of individuals with ASD revealed that the main focus has been on the cognitive functioning and academic achievement; however, these measures alone do not predict QoL (Burgess & Gutstein, 2007). The purpose of this study is to empirically investigate those variables deemed to contribute most to QoL in a sample population of adults (18 years and older) with ASD using a cross-sectional descriptive research method. Participants were age and gender matched with neurotypically developing individuals. This study identified factors that significantly influenced QoL in a sample population of adults with ASD. Early intervention, including middle and high school transitioning of students with ASD should proactively address those variables that are deemed to yield positive QoL outcomes.

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