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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The empathizing-systemizing theory and adolescents with autism spectrum conditions
by Williams, Carrie, M.S., Purdue University, 2012, 91; 10156275
Abstract (Summary)

The empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory states that individuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) can be identified by a deficit in empathy (social skills, communication skills, and theory of mind) and a propensity for systemizing (islets of ability, obsessions with systems, and repetitive behavior). This theory has been tested in various contexts, but never with adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16. The EQ-A (Empathizing Quotient for Adolescents) and the SQ-A (Systemizing Quotient for Adolescents) were administered to 47 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 16 who had been diagnosed with ASC and 97 adolescents with no reported physical or mental disorders to discover differences in empathizing and systemizing.

To test the specific elements and predictions of the E-S theory, the EQ-A was divided into a set of three subscales derived by conceptually mapping items to factors corresponding to the concepts theoretically underlying the scale. The SQ-A was divided into subscales using factor analysis.

It was found that all four subscales resulting from the factor analysis on the SQ-A were associated with obsessions with systems. A weak positive correlation was found between the SQ-A and the EQ-A. Although the EQ-A was able to differentiate significantly between individuals with an ASC and those without, the SQ-A was not. In addition, although the EQ-A and EQ-A subscales scores correlated with similar subscales scores of the GARS-2 (a well-validated existing autism screening test), the SQ-A and its subscales did not. Implications for the E-S Theory are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McGrew, John
Commitee: Johnson, Kathy, McGrew, John, Rand, Kevin, Stewart, Jesse
School: Purdue University
Department: Psychological Sciences
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Asperger's, Autism, Baron-Cohen, Empathizing, Syndrome, Systemizing
Publication Number: 10156275
ISBN: 978-1-369-11328-0
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