Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Psychology (Masters)

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 64 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kristin V Christodulu

Committee Members

Melissa L Rinaldi


adolescents, autism spectrum disorder, children, depression, self-esteem, social skills, Youth with autism spectrum disorders, Depression in children, Self-esteem in adolescence, Self-esteem in children, Social skills in adolescence, Social skills in children

Subject Categories



Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for low self-esteem and depressive symptomatology. Poor social skills may be associated with depression and self-esteem in ASD populations, yet these relationships remain understudied. Previous studies are limited by lack of comparison between youth and parent report of social skills and lack of comparisons to clinically relevant samples. This study seeks to compare predictive relationships between parent and youth-reported social skills, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms across youth with ASD and youth with similar clinical vulnerabilities. Hierarchal regression analyses revealed that youth-reported social skills account for significant variance in self-esteem, parent-reported social skills account for significant variance in depressive symptoms, and self-esteem accounts for significant variance in depressive symptoms. Moderation analyses revealed that relationships between youth-reported social skills and self-esteem and between self-esteem and depressive symptoms had smaller effects in the ASD group, while the relationship between parent-reported social skills and depressive symptoms had a larger effect in the ASD group. Results indicate that poor social skills and self-esteem are risk factors for depression among children and adolescents with ASD. Additionally, results suggest ASD-related factors influence the relationships between social skills, self-esteem, and depression. Implications for clinical practice and future directions are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons