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Parent Expectations Mediate Outcomes for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract

Understanding the complex relationships among factors that may predict the outcomes of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is of utmost importance given the increasing population undergoing and anticipating the transition to adulthood. With a sample of youth with ASD (n = 1170) from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, structural equation modeling techniques were used to test parent expectations as a mediator of young adult outcomes (i.e., employment, residential independence, social participation) in a longitudinal analysis. The mediation hypothesis was confirmed; family background and functional performance variables significantly predicted parent expectations which significantly predicted outcomes. These findings add context to previous studies examining the role of parent expectations on young adult outcomes and inform directions for family-centered interventions and future research.

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank her dissertation committee and especially her chair, Dr. Grace Baranek, as well as those who provided additional statistical consultation—Dr. John Sideris and Nicolas Wagner. The data used in this study was acquired through a data-use agreement with the Institute for Education Sciences. The project was financially supported in part by a grant from the Society for the Study of Occupation (SSO:USA).

Author Contributions

AK conceived of the study, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted and finalized the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Anne V. Kirby.

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This manuscript was prepared from the author’s doctoral dissertation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Kirby, A.V. Parent Expectations Mediate Outcomes for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 1643–1655 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2691-3

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