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An exploratory study of formal support factors and quality of life for adults with Asperger's syndrome



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Although the concept of quality of life (QOL) has become increasingly popular in the past few decades in a number of fields of research, few studies have specifically examined QOL for high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Several studies have found that objectively measured outcomes for adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger's syndrome (AS) tend to be poor in terms of employment, relationships, mental health, and independence. However, it has been recently suggested that in order to obtain a more accurate depiction of overall QOL, subjective impressions must be examined as well. Recent research has found that the most significant predictor variable of QOL for high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders is the discrepancy between support needed and formal support provided. The current study examined 15 formal support variables and their relationships to subjective QOL scores on the WHOQOL-BREF, in 4 domains (physical health, psychological health, environment, and social relationships) as well as overall QOL. A total of 33 participants completed a questionnaire that included items designed to obtain information on demographics and formal support. Participants also completed the WHOQOL-BREF in order to obtain overall QOL scores along with QOL domain scores. Significant negative correlations were found between Environmental QOL scores and the accessing of a social worker as well as the accessing of social groups. Significant negative correlations were also found between Social QOL scores and the accessing of a psychiatrist and a single-item overall QOL score and the accessing of counselling or psychotherapy. All correlations between formal support factors and QOL scores showed lower QOL scores for those individuals who accessed the supports. The results of standard multiple regression analyses revealed a significant model that accounted for 49% of the total variance in the amount of total supports accessed as well as two other significant models predicting Social QOL and Environmental QOL.



Asperger's syndrome, quality of life, autism spectrum disorders, adult outcomes



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Psychology and Special Education


Educational Psychology and Special Education


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