Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 1647–1664 | Cite as

Intellectual Ability, Self-perceived Social Competence, and Depressive Symptomatology in Children with High-functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders

  • Sandy Vickerstaff
  • Sandra Heriot
  • Michelle Wong
  • Ana Lopes
  • David Dossetor
Original Paper


Although social competence deficits in children with high-functioning autistic spectrum disorders (HFASD) are well documented, there is little research investigating self-perceptions of social limitations. This study replicated research showing a negative association between self-perceived social competence and intellectual ability and investigated associations between self-perceived social competence and depressive symptomatology. Participants were 22 children with HFASD, aged 7–13 years with intelligence quotient (IQ) scores of 82–141. Parent- (N = 18) and teacher- (N = 17) rated social competence was lower for children with HFASD compared with a normative sample. Higher age and IQ predicted lower levels of self-perceived social competence, and low self-perceived social competence predicted higher levels of depressive symptomatology. Almost a third of children rated themselves for depression; parent ratings suggested even higher levels.


High-functioning autistic spectrum disorders Self-perception Depressive symptomatology Intellectual ability Social competence 



This paper is based on the Honours Thesis of the first author under supervision of the second author. This research is based on data from a larger intervention study conducted in association with the Children’s Hospital Westmead, and the University of Sydney, Australia, under direction of Sandra Heriot. The authors thank the children and their families who made this research possible by generously volunteering their time.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandy Vickerstaff
    • 1
  • Sandra Heriot
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michelle Wong
    • 3
  • Ana Lopes
    • 1
  • David Dossetor
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.CAMHSNET John Hunter HospitalLambtonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Psychological MedicineChildren’s Hospital at WestmeadSydneyAustralia

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