School of Education
Adolescents, Anxiety, Autism, Depression, Self-report
The following study seeks to determine if there are differences in anxiety and/or depression symptoms between adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have been adjudicated for a sexual offense compared to adolescents with an ASD who are not adjudicated. The scores of 26 adolescent offenders diagnosed with an ASD were compared to the scores of 14 non-offending adolescents with an ASD on the following measures: The Behavioral Assessment System for Children- Second Edition (BASC-2) depression and anxiety subscales, and the Beck's Depression Inventory- Second Edition (BDI-II). An examination of whether broad band (BASC-2) vs. narrow band (BDI-II) measures of depression was also examined to determine which better predicts comorbid depression among adolescents with an ASD. Results of the present study reveal higher self-report ratings of internalizing disorders among the offending population. Specifically, the offender group reported clinically significant rates of depression on the BASC-2 and BDI-II when compared to the non-offender group. Results do not indicate significant differences between the two groups on reported anxiety levels, and the average anxiety scores for both groups were found to be clustered around the mean. Findings also reveal that the narrow band measure of depression (BDI-II) evidence higher statistically significant rates in comparison to the broad band measure of depression (BASC-2) for the offender group. These findings have several implications for future research and treatment of adolescents with ASDs. In particular, future studies should examine how cognitive abilities, comorbid internalizing disorders, and the understanding of social rules/norms impact the development of social skills among adolescents with an ASD, so as to aid in the development of sexual education programming that can be used to prevent future offending behavior.
Marshall, S. (2012). Self-Report Anxiety and Depression Ratings Among Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparison of Individuals with and without a History of Sexual Offending (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/878