Factors Associated with Individual, Familial, and Community Well-Being of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Menezes, Michelle, Clinical Psychology - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Mazurek, Micah, ED-EDHS Department, University of Virginia

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by social communication difficulties and restricted, repetitive behaviors. Children and adolescents on the autism spectrum experience myriad challenges; nonetheless, they also demonstrate notable strengths including kindness and exceptional skill in areas of special interest. The strengths and challenges of autistic youth impact their functioning and the functioning of others in their ecology; and the well-being of youth with ASD is influenced by the characteristics of the individuals and systems with which they interact, as well as the larger social, economic, and cultural contexts in which they live. The three papers in this dissertation series explore the interactions among the different levels of the ecology of autistic youth and well-being. Paper 1 examined associations among domains of health-related quality of life and co-occurring emotional and behavioral problems in youth with autism. Paper 2 studied relations among co-occurring psychopathology in autistic children and adolescents, family resilience, and caregiver coping. Paper 3 investigated the relationship between neighborhood support and family resilience in households with children with ASD. All three papers indicated significant interrelations among the different levels of the ecology of youth on the autism spectrum and well-being. This dissertation series asserts that the associations among autistic child-level factors, home-level factors, community-level factors, and societal-level factors are dynamic and reciprocal. As such, these interconnections have implications for supports, services, and policies to optimize well-being.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Autism, Well-Being, Health
Issued Date: