PERSONAL AND FAMILY PREDICTORS OF SELF-DETERMINATION IN ADOLESCENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD) Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Regan, Tara
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have the poorest postsecondary outcomes in comparison to their peers with and without disabilities (Howlin, Goode, Hutton, &Rutter, 2004). Since 2000, the prevalence rate has increased dramatically with 1 in 68 children diagnosed with ASD (Baio, 2014; Christensen et al., 2016), and more students with ASD are graduating from high school each year (Shattuck et al., 2012.) Self-determination is a predictor of better postsecondary outcomes for students with disabilities (Wehmeyer et al., 2013). However, there is a dearth of research on family involvement in self-determination because most studies have focused on the role of educators and school settings. This dissertation study analyzed personal and family factors as predictors of self-determination in adolescents with ASD in a sample from the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (CSESA). The sample included 547 adolescents with ASD attending high schools in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and California. CSESA research staff administered and collected data from students, educators and school staff, and parents across several time points. This research study examined pre-test data related to adolescents' self-determination and the independent variables: age, gender, cognitive ability, race/ethnicity, ASD severity, social skills, adaptive behavior, parent education, household income, type of neighborhood, caregiver burden, parent perspective of their child's self-determination, and family empowerment. Based on the functional theory of self-determination, Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory, previous self-determination, postsecondary, and/or autism research, 13 personal and family factors were identified as predictors of self-determination and formed three hierarchical multiple linear regression models: (1) personal factors; (2) family factors; (3) family factors while controlling for personal factors. The first two models comprised of two steps to evaluate the relationship between non-malleable factors and malleable factors. ASD severity, annual household income, parent perceptions of their child's self-determination, and family empowerment were statistically significant predictors of self-determination. There were statistically significant relationships of whole steps (i.e., non-malleable factors and malleable factors) and models with self-determination, substantiating theory about the complexity of person and the environment. Implications and recommendations for research and practice are discussed.
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Advisor
  • Wiesen, Christopher
  • Test, David
  • Hume, Kara
  • Odom, Samuel L.
  • Able, Harriet
  • Mergner, Sherry
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018
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