Category: Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders
Studies of psychosocial interventions are often comprised of middle class participants (Lord et al., 2005) and research suggests that socioeconomic status (SES) may influence treatment effects (APA Task Force, 2006). The goal of this study was to examine the outcome of a social skills intervention among people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of various SES backgrounds.
One-hundred eighty-six (N = 186) individuals with ASD age 11 to 28 years (M = 15.21, SD = 3.48) participated in the study. Using a randomized controlled trial design (Experimental, EXP: n = 93, Waitlist control, WL: n = 93), adolescents and young adults completed the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) interventions appropriate to their age. A parent or caregiver completed a demographic form that asked about annual income, education, and occupation, which were used to measure SES. Before and after the intervention, measures of social behavior were administered. The Test of Adolescent/Young Adult Social Skills Knowledge (TASSK/TYASSK; Laugeson et al., 2012; Gantman et al., 2012) was completed by participants, and the Social Skills Improvement Scale-Revised Scales (SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2007) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS; Constantino et al. 2003) were completed by a parent/caregiver.
Group differences were examined for the EXP and WL groups at pre-test: age was significantly different between occupations (F(6, 178) = 4.071, p < .001), and was covaried for the following analyses. When analyzed by group, no significant differences were found in response to treatment based on income on the TASSK/TYASSK (F(4,168) = .539, p = .707), SRS (F(4, 156) = .491, p = .743), or SSIS-RS (F(4, 165) = .559, p = .693), or education on the TASSK/TYASSK (F(4, 174) = .203, p = .936), SRS (F(4, 162) = .484, p = .747), or SSIS-RS (F(4, 171) = .524, p = .718), or occupation on the TASSK/TYASSK (F(6, 168) = .660, p = .682), SRS (F(6, 157) = .481, p = .822), or the SSIS-RS (F(6, 165) = .626, p = .710). There was a significant difference between EXP and WL groups on the TASSK/TYASSK (F(1, 182) = 283.542, p < .001), SRS (F(1, 170) = 16.720, p < .001), and SSIS-RS (F(1, 179) = 7.689, p = .006).
The study suggests that the PEERS® intervention is efficacious for people with ASD of different SES backgrounds. Although, SES may influence treatment effects (APA Task Force, 2006) and youths with ASD with lower SES are more likely to have poorer behavioral outcomes (Taylor & Seltzer, 2010), individuals from lower SES backgrounds experienced the same benefits as individuals from higher SES backgrounds. The findings demonstrate the response to treatment and provides support of the usage of the PEERS® interventions on individuals with ASD of lower SES backgrounds.
Kenia Rivera– Research Assistant, Marquette University, Wisconsin
Alana McVey– Marquette University
Hillary Schiltz– Marquette University
Angela Haendel– Marquette University
Bridget Dolan– Marquette University
Sheryl Pleiss– University of Minnesota
Audrey Carson– Texas Children's
Elisabeth Vogt– Marquette University
Amy Van Hecke– Marquette University