School of Education
autism, callous and unemotional traits, juvenile justice, sexuality, treatment
The study assesses the apparent similarities and underlying differences between traits of autism spectrum disorder and callous and unemotional traits, and problematic sexual behaviors that can result in involvement in the juvenile justice system. The need to differentiate between these traits and better understand their impact on response to treatment within treatment facilities for offenders is highlighted. This research investigated the presence of individuals with traits of autism spectrum disorders and callous and unemotional traits in adolescent males in a residential treatment program for sexual offenses, and whether instruments that are typically used to identify these characteristics were effective in distinguishing between them effectively within this population. Results are based on descriptive statistics, visual analyses, and nonparametric comparisons of responses between groups with and without observed traits of autism spectrum disorder. Results showed individuals in this treatment facility did exhibit characteristics of autism as well as callous and unemotional traits. For individuals with autism who also reported callous and unemotional traits, scores were significantly higher for unemotional characteristics, specifically, as compared to individuals without symptoms of autism. Deficits in social skills, emotion facial recognition abilities, and sexual knowledge were apparent across participants. Although there were no significant differences between groups, these results point to clinical considerations that are worthy of attention in terms of treatment.
Parys, K. (2016). The Importance of Differentiating Between Traits of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Callous and Unemotional Traits (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/103