Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 81 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kristin V Christodulu

Committee Members

Elana Gordis, Melissa Rinaldi


Children with autism spectrum disorders, Social interaction in children, Social skills in children, Mainstreaming in education, School children

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Although inclusive educational programming offers opportunities for increased contact between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing peers, research indicates that children with ASD continue to struggle socially in these settings. One possible contributing factor could be the type of attitudes that typically developing peers hold regarding children with ASD. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether typically developing first grade children express rejecting attitudes towards a hypothetical peer with behaviors indicative of autism. This study employed a between-groups design and included 89 participants. Participating children viewed a brief video that depicted either a child with autism or a typically developing child. They then completed several brief measures regarding their attitudes towards the child in the video and their accurate knowledge of autism. Based on previous literature, it was hypothesized that: 1) participants would express less accepting attitudes towards the child with autism than towards the control child, and 2) females would express more positive attitudes towards the peer with autism than would males. Results failed to support both hypotheses. Possible explanations for these findings and recommendations for future research directions are addressed.