Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Multiple genetic and environmental factors have roles in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Thus, researchers have become increasingly interested in studying family members of individuals with ASD in order to examine possible risk factors and to identify early markers of the disorder. While family history of ASD may put an individual at risk for developing autism, there is limited research examining how the degree of relationship to the affected individual may be related to an individual’s presenting ASD symptomatology. Because closer familial relationships (i.e., first-degree relatives) have more shared genetic material and tend to have increased common environment than more distal relationships (i.e., second- or third-degree relatives), the present study aimed to examine if there was an association between degree of relationship and autism symptomatology in young children with a family history of ASD. Participants included 470 young children (M = 25.64 months, SD = 5.07) recruited through a statewide early intervention program who were diagnosed with ASD or identified as atypically developing with a family history of ASD. Regression analyses were conducted to investigate the relationships between group (e.g., ASD and atypically developing), degree of relationship (e.g., first-degree and second- or third-degree), and the interaction between group and degree of relationship and ASD symptomatology. Implications and clinical utility of these results are discussed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Matson, Johnny

Included in

Psychology Commons