Date of Graduation

12-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Timothy Cavell

Committee Member

Ana Bridges

Second Committee Member

Aleza Greene

Keywords

Autism, Autism Support Program, Mentoring

Abstract

Increasingly more students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are attending college. In response, many colleges are now offering these students the extra support of an Autism Support Program (ASP), many of which include a mentoring component. This study is one of only a handful of attempts to examine these programs empirically. Using a small sample of college students who identified as having ASD, I compared participants and non-participants of a university ASP. An online survey was used to assess demographic characteristics and pre-college academic performance, as well as students’ functioning across the following domains: social, adaptive, academic, emotional, and having a natural mentor. I also examined the degree to which student functioning was associated with the quality and frequency of ASP-sponsored mentoring relationships. Results indicated ASP participants were more often men and likely to report higher levels of social, adaptive, academic, and emotional functioning than non-participants. There were few significant correlations between relationship quality or frequency with ASP mentors and students’ functioning. The implications of these findings for future research and for recruiting students into ASPs is discussed.

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