Emotional Intelligence & Resiliency in Asperger s s Disorder

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1 Emotional Intelligence & Resiliency in Asperger s s Disorder Presenters: Janine Montgomery, Ph.D. 2, & Danielle Brady, M.A. 1 Primary Investigators: Drs. Vicki Schwean 1 & Donald Saklofske 1 Co-Investigators : Keoma Thorne 1, Yvonne Hindes 1, JoAnne Burt 1, Adam McCrimmon 1 & Candace Kohut 1 Universities of 1 Calgary & 2 Manitoba Presented at the ACCFCR Research Showcase: October 29 th, 2009

2 Presentation Overview Overview & Significance of the Research Brief Review of Asperger s Disorder & Research Constructs Research Protocol & Methodological Considerations Selected Research Findings: Emotional Intelligence & Resiliency Limitations and Implications Research in Progress Selected Publications & Presentations

3 RESEARCH PROJECT OVERVIEW

4 Research Project Overview Investigation of social & emotional abilities in individuals with Asperger s (AS) to identify factors that promote resiliency and successful transitions Examine: 1) psychological basis of social, emotional, and executive abilities in young adults with AS 2) psychological protective and vulnerability factors associated with social, interpersonal, and personal adjustment (i.e., resiliency) in young adults with AS

5 Research Significance Limited research on social & emotional abilities that promote resiliency & successful life outcomes in individuals with AS No known previous research on EI and AS Young adults who experience challenges in social & emotional contexts also experience difficulties with successful life transitions Understanding predictors of, and buffers to, social & emotional challenges, & their relationship to developmental & adult outcomes is critically important

6 BRIEF REVIEW OF ASPERGER S S DISORDER & RESEARCH CONSTRUCTS

7 Asperger s s (AS) Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder Significant and sustained impairment in social interactions Pragmatic and nonverbal communication difficulties Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests, and activities Within the context of typical development language cognition

8 Resiliency Resilience: the process of how individuals cope successfully in the face of significant adversity or risk (Masten, 2001). Enhanced by protective factors: (Garmezy, 1985) Individual attributes Family qualities Community resources

9 Executive Functions (EFs) Executive functioning ability to adapt one s behaviour based on changing environmental contingencies includes cognitive functions involved in planning & guiding behavior to achieve a goal in an efficient manner Coordination of cognitive processes including (but not limited to): planning cognitive and behavioural flexibility inhibition working memory (Roberts, Robbins, & Weiskrantz, 1998; Stuss & Knight, 2002)

10 Theory of Mind (ToM) Mindreading or Mentalizing (Baron-Cohen, 1995) The ability to recognize that others have thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and perceptions different from our own (Astington, Harris, & Olson, 1988; Happe & Frith, 1996).

11 Emotional Intelligence (EI) 2 Distinct Definitions/Models Ability: MSCEIT (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 1990) a) accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others; b) use emotions to facilitate thinking; c) understand emotional meanings; d) manage emotions. Performance tasks Trait: BarOn EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 1997) Broad, yet interdependent, domains of: a) intrapersonal skills, b) interpersonal skills, c) adaptability, d) stress management, e) general mood Self-report

12 RESEARCH PROTOCOL & METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

13 Methodology 35 young adults (aged 16 to 21 years) with AS from schools and clinics in MB and AB 35 typically developing participants (data collection will be complete mid-november) Parents, teachers Informed consent secured Screening with parent measures Participants attended on site labs and completed in one or two sessions

14 Measures Inclusion Background Questionnaire Krug Asperger Disorder Index Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence Emotional Intelligence MSCEIT Bar-On EQ-i:S Resiliency & Satisfaction with Life Resiliency Scale for Adolescents Satisfaction with Life Scale Autism Spectrum Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, 2 nd Ed Krug Asperger Disorder Index

15 Measures Executive Function Selected subtests from Delis Kaplan Executive Function System Wisconsin Card Sorting Task Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Iowa Gambling Task Theory of Mind Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test-Revised (Baron-Cohen, et al.,1997) Social and Adaptive skills Behaviour Assessment System for Children (2 nd Ed).

16 SELECTED RESEARCH FINDINGS

17 Emotional Intelligence & Asperger s s (AS) Disorder Emotional intelligence, theory of mind & executive functions as predictors of social outcomes

18 Key Findings AS group had lower scores (than norms) on the trait test, but not the ability test Understanding Emotions (Ability) one SD above norm group evidence of strength EQ (trait) correlated strongly with self reports of social stress and poor interpersonal relationships EQ (trait) correlated moderately with adaptive skill ratings by parents

19 Key Findings Trait and Ability EI predicted 55% of the variance for interpersonal skills Theory of mind and trait EI together significantly predicted 33% of variance for social stress Adding EFs did not improve predictions for social outcomes

20 Emotional Intelligence & Resiliency in AS Brief Review of Findings: Publication in the Canadian Journal of School Psychology

21 Resiliency: Key Findings Relative to the standardization sample, individuals with AS demonstrated: Significantly low scores in the following areas: empathy, social responsibility, and interpersonal relationships, as well as optimism and happiness Slightly below average scores in the competencies, skills and facilitators underlying: self-regard, emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, independence, and self-actualization; stress tolerance and impulse control; and flexibility and problem solving

22 Resiliency: Key Findings Individuals with AS appear to experience difficulties with emotional resiliency (i.e., tend to be overly sensitive and show less capacity to recover from emotionally-laden situations) Parents rated our participants as highly resistant to change, developmentally immature in daily living skills, and unable to use internal and external support systems to alleviate stress and overcome adversity Total EQ, Stress Management, and Intrapersonal skills correlated significantly with self- and parent-report scales tapping emotional reactivity and self-control, as well as selfreported interpersonal relationships

23 Limitations & Implications

24 Limitations Small sample size No random selection Self-report Self and parent referred Co-morbidities included Different clinicians involved in the diagnostic process

25 Implications Emerging research suggests that trait-based emotional intelligence can be significantly enhanced within a matter of a few weeks, as a result of training offers hope for altering the risk trajectory. (BarOn, 2003; Hansen, 2005)

26 Broader Research Implications Understanding social & emotional strengths and areas of need has implications for: Individualization of assessment and intervention Identification of predictive factors for resiliency promotion has the potential to: Build and strengthen protective factors within youth with ASD to improve outcomes Inform support services for youth with ASD, their families, & their communities Guide government policy & subsequent funding initiatives

27 Research in Progress

28 Research in Progress Danielle Brady: Executive Specificity in Young Adults with AS: A Neuropsychological Perspective Adam McCrimmon: Verbal and Nonverbal Correlates of Young Adults with AS Data collection complete in November, 2009

29 References & Selected Publications & Presentations

30 References Astington, J. W., Harris, P. L., & Olson, D. R. (1988). Developing theories of mind. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bar-On, R. (1997). BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory Technical manual. Ontario: Multi- Health Systems Inc. Bar-On, R. (2003). How important is it to educate people to be emotionally and socially intelligent, and can it be done? Perspectives in Education, 21(4), Bar-On, R. (2005). The BarOn emotional quotient inventory: Short. Ontario: Multi-Health Systems Inc. Edward, K. L., & Warelow, P. (2005). Resiliency: When coping is emotionally intelligent. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 11, Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychology, 56, Garmezy, N. (1985). Stress-resistant children: The search for protective factors. In J. E. Stevenson (Ed.), Recent Research in Developmental Psychopathology: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Book Supplement #4 (pp ). Oxford: Pergamon Press. Gutstein, S. E., & Whitney, T. (2002). Asperger syndrome and the development of social competence. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, 17(16), Hansen, K. (2006, October). Development of EI in teachers. Paper presented at the Second Annual International Symposium on Emotional Intelligence in Swinburne University of Technology. Melbourne, Australia.

31 References Happe, F. & Frith, U. (1996). The neuropsychology of autism. Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., Cote, S., & Beers, M. (2005). Emotion regulation abilities and the quality of social interaction. Emotion, 5(1), Luthar, S., & Cicchetti, D. (2000). The construct of resilience: Implications for interventions and social policies. Development and Psychopathology, 12, Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resiliency processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, Reprinted in M. E., Hertzig & E. A. Farber (Eds.) (2005), Annual progress in child psychiatry and child development: New York: Routledge. Masten, A. S., & Coatsworth, J. D. (1998). The development of competence in favourable and unfavourable environments: Lessons from successful children. American Psychologist, 53, Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2002). Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence: Test user's manual. Toronto, ON: Multi-Health Systems. Stuss, D.T. & Knight, R.T. (2002). Principles of frontal lobe function. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Southwick, S. M., Vythilingam, M., & Charney, D. S. (2005). The psychobiology of depression and resilience to stress: Implications for prevention and treatment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, Wade, C., Tavris, C., Saucier, D., & Elias, L. (Eds.) (2004). Psychology: Canadian edition. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

32 Selected Publications and Presentations Montgomery, J., Dyke, D.I. & Hindes, Y. (2008). The Spectrum at School: Approaches and Strategies for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Workshop presented at the Annual St. Amant Conference. Montgomery, J., Dyke, D.I. & Schwean, V.L. (2008). Autism spectrum disorders: WISC-IV Applications for clinical assessment and intervention. In A. Prifitera, D.H. Saklofske & L.G. Weiss (Eds.) WISC-IV Clinical assessment and intervention 2e. San Diego, Academic Press. Montgomery, J. M., Schwean, V. L., Burt, J. G., Dyke, D. I., Thorne, K. J., Hindes, Y. L., McCrimmon, A. W., & Kohut, C. S. (2008). Emotional Intelligence and Resiliency in Young Adults With Asperger's Disorder: Challenges and Opportunities. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 23, 1, Dyke, D. I., Schwean, V. L., Saklofske, D. H., Montgomery, J., McCrimmon, A., Hindes, Y., Thorne, K., Burt, J. & Kohut, C. (2008, June). Executive specificity in youth with autism spectrum disorder: An update. Symposium presentation at the Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association.

33 Contact Information ASD Research Group Tel: (403) Acknowledgement: Special thanks to the young adults & their families who gave so willingly to this research

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