Asperger syndrome and emotional intelligence
Montgomery, Janine Marie
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Individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS), an autism spectrum disorder, are characterized by average to superior intelligence while at the same time experiencing severe and pervasive deficits in social interaction. While many individuals with AS report that they keenly desire social relationships, the combination of repeated social failures and intelligence sufficient to appreciate these difficulties increases the risk for developing depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns (Tantam, 1998; 2000). Emotional intelligence (EI) is a construct that offers potential to understand individual emotional and social characteristics. The broad purpose of the two studies in this project was to examine ability and trait approaches to EI to understand if EI offers enriched understanding of social outcomes in AS. Further, this study explored EI, executive functions (EF), and theory of mind (ToM) to understand whether EI singularly or in combination with other theoretical explanations best accounts for social outcomes in individuals with AS. The participants in this study were 25 young adults (aged 16-21) diagnosed with AS in Alberta and Manitoba. In study 1, trends and differences between AS and normative groups were examined. Further, correlation and multiple regression were employed to explore relationships amongst variables. Results indicated that trait EI was impaired for individuals with AS; however ability EI was intact. Regression analyses revealed that trait and ability EI together predicted 57% the variance for self-reported interpersonal skills and 31% of the variance for parent-reported social skills. Trait EI alone predicted 19% of the variance for self-reported social stress. In study 2, EI, EF, and ToM were explored as predictors of social outcomes. Low correlations between EF and outcome variables precluded further analysis with this particular set of variables. Multiple regression procedures revealed that together ToM and trait EI predicted 33 % of the variance for self-reported Social Stress. The findings suggest that including ToM and EI measures in assessment protocols for individuals with AS provides important information to inform interventions.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramEducational Psychology and Special Education
SupervisorSchwean, Vicki L.; Saklofske, Donald H.
CommitteeNoonan, Brian; Lupart, Judy; Hellsten, Laurie; Walker, Keith D.
theory of mind