Neuropsychological deficits, social information processing, and psychiatric adjustment among children with Asperger syndrome

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Peter Mundy - Committee Chair


Asperger syndrome (AS) is a lifelong developmental disorder, on the most able end of the autistic spectrum, characterized by unusual interests and lack of social reciprocity. Emotional and conduct disturbance are believed to be common in AS, perhaps resulting from social isolation, yet such tertiary handicaps and their relation to the social-cognitive deficits of AS have not been empirically investigated. Two studies were conducted to focus on potential predictors of poor psychiatric adjustment in this population. In the first study, children with AS were compared to Learning Disabled (LD) and Typically Developing peers (TD), matched on age and cognitive ability. The objective for the first study was to assess cognitive, neuropsychological, behavioral, and emotional functioning in AS relative to other children. Children with AS were also compared to LD and TD peers on social information-processing tendencies. In the second study, possible relations between neuropsychological deficits and adjustment in children with AS were explored. In addition, social information-processing tendencies were hypothesized to relate to individual differences in adjustment among children with AS. Results suggested that, while core cognitive deficits are present in AS, individual differences in social information-processing may be important to consider in the ancillary pathology and treatment of children affected by this disorder.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Psychology, Clinical

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