Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Linda LeBlanc

Second Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Third Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This exploratory study examined the specific topographies and corresponding demographic information of restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, interests and activities of children with autism, and evaluated developmental differences between age groups. Previous literature has largely neglected this core feature of autism despite the need, and frequent call for such foundational data (Bodfish et al., 2000; Kennedy et al., 2000; Mercier et al., 2000; Turner, 1999). Participants included primary caregivers of 104 children who met DSM-IV-TR criteria for autism (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) and ranged in age from 3 to 7 years (M = 4. 7). The behaviors reported as occurring most frequently and reported by the most participants (regardless of frequency) were not motor stereotypies, which are often discussed in autism research, but included verbal and complex repetitive behaviors. Statistically significant effects were found for caregiver marital status and conflict level of the household for predicting the dependent variables of the child's distress at interruption of behavior and the caregiver's disturbance by the child's behavior. It is hoped that this information will contribute to a better understanding of this area of autism and will guide future research and affect future treatment for autistic disorder.

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Psychology Commons