Screening for Psychopathology in Individuals with Autism using the Vineland - II
Wells, Kerry Lee
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Research has consistently shown that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in combination with an intellectual disability are at greater risk for developing psychopathology than are typically developing individuals. Individuals with ASD and intellectual disability are also at increased risk of psychopathology compared to those who have an intellectual disability alone. Given this risk, accurate monitoring and screening of psychopathology in this population is critical. However, there are few well validated measures of psychopathology designed specifically for this population. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales – Second Edition (Vineland – II; Sparrow, Cicchetti, & Balla, 2005) is a commonly used measure of adaptive skills, and includes an optional Maladaptive Behavior Domain. The Maladaptive Behavior Domain consists of four sections, Internalizing, Externalizing, Other, and Critical Items. The Vineland-II has been used extensively with individuals who have an intellectual disability as well as with individuals who have ASD. However, the Maladaptive Behavior Domain has been overlooked in the literature and little information on its reliability, validity, or clinical utility exists. The utility of the Maladaptive Behavior Domain as a screening tool for psychopathology in individuals with ASD and intellectual disability was examined. The Vineland-II was administered to the parents/caregivers of 231 individuals between the ages of 3 and 41 years (M = 10 years 4 months) with ASD and intellectual disability. A factor analysis of the items within the maladaptive domain revealed a solution composed of six factors, which were labelled Acting Out, Social Regulation, ASD, Emotion Regulation, Socially Inappropriate, and Self-Regulation. Five of the six new factors are substantially different from the original sections. The Externalizing scale was the only original Vineland-II scale that remained relatively intact. These results suggest that for individuals with ASD and intellectual disability the Internalizing, Other, and Critical Items scales do not measure any well-defined constructs and thus do not yield meaningful information. The new factors appear to better categorize the Maladaptive Behavior Domain of the Vineland – II for individuals with ASD and intellectual disability. The reorganization of the Maladaptive Behavior Domain will allow for better detection of different forms of psychopathology in ASD and intellectual disability.