Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Children diagnosed with Autistic Disorder (AD), Asperger’s Disorder (AS), and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) share overlapping diagnostic criteria. As a result, there has been an enduring debate regarding the appropriateness of the current categorical classification system used to diagnose this group of disorders, commonly referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Ongoing research examining the boundaries of the disorders comprising the spectrum have yielded inconsistent findings in symptom differences; therefore, the American Psychiatric Association has proposed revisions for the upcoming version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (i.e., DSM-5). Revisions include dropping all subcategories of ASD and including one dimensional category that is all encompassing. Thus, the aim of the current study was to compare symptoms of ASD in children and adolescents who met criteria for ASD according to only the DSM-IV-TR (i.e., DSM-IV-TR group) to those who met criteria according to the forthcoming version of the DSM (i.e., DSM-5 group) and to those that were typically developing (i.e., control group). Using the Autism Spectrum Disorders – Diagnosis for Children, participants in the DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 groups did not score significantly different from each other on overall autism symptoms, but both groups scored significantly different from the control group. Upon further investigation, the DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5 groups scored significantly different in the core domain area of Nonverbal Communication/Socialization. Additionally, different symptom profiles predicted group membership when participants were classified as ASD or typically developing according to the DSM-IV-TR versus the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. Implications of these findings and the implications of the proposed changes to the ASD diagnostic category for the DSM-5 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