Defining and measuring indices of happiness and unhappiness in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

Devon Ramey, Olive Healy, Emma McEnaney

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Abstract

Improving quality of life (QoL) is the goal of behavior analytic services, but there can be barriers to assessing the QoL of autistic children due to characteristics inherent in the condition. Given that happiness is a fundamental element of QoL,
previous research has relied on behavioral indicators of mood (e.g., smiling, crying) to evaluate the overall QoL of disabled individuals. However, the use of these traditional indices may not accurately reflect the emotional well-being of autistic individuals, who are known to engage in idiosyncratic mood indicators. The current study replicated selected procedures from Parsons et al. (2012) to identify and validate the unique mood indicators of young autistic children. The study showed that individualized indices of happiness and unhappiness could be operationally defined and reliably measured among these children. Key findings and limitations of this study are discussed, and the implications of these findings are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-209
Number of pages16
JournalBehavior Analysis in Practice
Volume16
Early online date12 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Quality of life
  • Measuring mood
  • Indices of happiness
  • Autism

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