Construct validity of the Adapted Skillstreaming Survey for communicative individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Toomey, Jennifer Ann
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are characterized by deficits in social interactions and communication, as well as the presence of restricted interests and circumscribed behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Affected individuals often have associated features, such as impaired face/affect recognition and problem behaviors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the construct validity of the Adapted Skillstreaming Survey (SS). The Adapted SS was designed to be a treatment sensitive measure for a manualized summer treatment program for children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs). The items were selected based on their alignment with treatment targets and diagnostic characteristics of ASDs. The Adaptive SS was completed by 136 parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. One hundred of the children were classified with HFASDs, while the other 36 children were classified with low functioning autism spectrum disorders (LFASDs). Subgroups of parents also completed the parent rating form of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2-PRS; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2004) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS; Constantino & Gruber, 2005). Adapted SS data were subjected to principal axis common factor analysis using a promax rotation. Results of the analysis indicated that the items of the Adapted SS yielded a correlated three-factor solution. The factors were named Social Initiative, Social Self-Control, and Emotion/Affect Recognition. Internal consistency reliabilities ranged from .80 to .94 for the three factors and the total score, while test-retest reliability estimates ranged from .70 to .77 over a five to six week interval. Convergent validity was demonstrated through substantive correlations between the Adapted SS and several scales from the BASC-2-PRS related to social functioning and the total score of the SRS. Clear evidence of divergent validity was also present. Further examination of the correlations between the Adapted SS factors and the BASC-2-PRS scales revealed factor-specific concurrent validity evidence for the Social Initiative and Social Self-Control factors. In addition, known groups comparisons indicated that children with HFASDs scored significantly higher on all Adapted SS scores when compared to children with LFASDs. Study strengths and limitations are discussed, as well as recommendations for future research.