Engagement in Vocational Activities Promotes Behavioral Development for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

This study examined the bidirectional relations over time between behavioral functioning (autism symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, activities of daily living) and vocational/educational activities of adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Participants were 153 adults with ASD (M age = 30.2 years) who were part of a larger longitudinal study. Data were collected at two time points separated by 5.5 years. Cross-lag models were used, which accounted for stability over time while testing both directions of cross-lagged effects. Results suggested that greater vocational independence and engagement was related to subsequent reductions in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors, and improvements in activities of daily living. Relations between earlier behavioral variables (symptoms, behaviors, and activities of daily living) and later vocational independence were not statistically significant.

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Acknowledgments

This project was supported by two grants from Autism Speaks (J.L. Taylor, PI; M.R. Mailick, PI), the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG08768, M.R. Mailick, PI), and the National Institute of Mental Health (K01 MH92598, J.L. Taylor, PI). Core support was provide by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P30 HD15052, E.M. Dykens, PI: P30 HD03352, M.R. Mailick, PI) and the National Center for Research Resources (1 UL1 RR024975).

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Taylor, J.L., Smith, L.E. & Mailick, M.R. Engagement in Vocational Activities Promotes Behavioral Development for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 44, 1447–1460 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-2010-9

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Adult
  • Vocation
  • Autism symptoms
  • Behavior problems
  • Activities of daily living