Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    An investigation of the factors that contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of autistic adults
    (University College Dublin. School of Psychology, 2022)
    Autistic people experience increased rates of mental health conditions and symptoms compared to their non-autistic peers; autistic women and trans people perhaps more so. However, there is not yet a consensus as to why this is the case. Through the lens of the neurodiversity paradigm, the present thesis aimed to develop an understanding of the factors that impact autistic people’s mental health, from the perspective of autistic people themselves. First, this thesis presents a systematic review and thematic synthesis of the perspectives of autistic females on what experiences have impacted their mental health and wellbeing. Findings suggested that the biological and psychological factors associated with being autistic interact with a variety of environmental and social factors, in turn shaping wellbeing and mental health outcomes. Second, an empirical mixed-methods study is presented, which investigated mental health experiences and the factors that contributed to mental health and wellbeing in mixed-gender samples. The qualitative phase consisted of semi-structured interviews with 20 autistic adults and the quantitative phase investigated key factors identified by interviewees in a sample of 236 autistic adults using standardised questionnaires. High levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms and low levels of wellbeing were reported. Autistic cisgender women reported higher levels of anxiety, while autistic trans people reported more depressive symptoms. Feelings of exclusion and isolation, childhood bullying, autism-related stigma and challenges related to the neurotypical environment were all found to predict mental health and wellbeing. Overall, the findings of the present thesis point to the need for community adaptations or interventions to create a more accessible and accepting society, as well as improvements in service provision for autistic adults.
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  • Publication
    Investigating Cognitive demand of Higher-level Leaving Certificate Mathematics Examination Tasks Pre- and Post- Curriculum Reform
    (Institute of Education, Dublin City University, 2019-10-11) ; ;
    In 2010 the phased introduction of the new Project Maths curriculum began in post-primary schools in Ireland. This new curriculum aimed to enable students to develop problem-solving skills by providing relevant, contextual applications of mathematics, while simultaneously increasing the levels of cognitive demand required of students. This research aims to investigate whether the levels of cognitive demand required to complete tasks in the Leaving Certificate Higher-level mathematics examinations changed as a result of the curriculum reform. The methodology of this research includes the systematic analysis of Leaving Certificate examination tasks, from 2007 to 2017, using an adaptation of the Stein and Smith (1998) task analysis framework. Using this framework, tasks were classified as being of high- level or low-level cognitive demand. Analysis of the data collected suggests that a statistically significant increase in the levels of high-cognitive demand tasks did occur following the curriculum reform. Our findings are discussed in relation to two recent studies that used different frameworks to examine the cognitive demand of tasks in post-primary mathematics.
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  • Publication
    A Systematic review of autistic children’s prosocial behaviour
    Background: Prosocial behaviour (e.g., comforting, helping, sharing) is associated with important positive life outcomes. Historical and recent theory, evidence and personal accounts within the autism community present a mixed picture regarding Autistic children’s prosocial engagement. This systematic review consolidates, for the first time, how empirical studies have been measuring Autistic children’s prosocial behaviour to date (objective one). This review clarifies what knowledge the evidence provides, specifically how the type (e.g., comforting, helping, sharing), target (e.g., parent, experimenter, Autistic or neurotypical peer) and timing (e.g., young, middle, and late childhood) affect Autistic children’s prosocial behaviour (objective two). Methods: Relevant published records were identified through systematic searches of three electronic databases: PsychINFO, PubMED and Embase. Thirty studies presented in 29 articles met eligibility criteria and were included for data-extraction, quality assessment and narrative synthesis. Results: The most common methodologies used were found to be: in-person paradigms, games, informant reports, and self-reports. Reliability and validity efforts were inconsistent. It is hoped these findings will act as a benchmark for development of future research in the area. Outcomes were found to be much more positive about Autistic children’s engagement in prosocial behaviour than diagnostic criteria and historical theory suggests, with Autistic children often engaging in prosocial behaviour to the same frequency as comparison groups despite unfamiliar and neurotypical targets. Narrative synthesis revealed moderating variables and differing patterns and styles of Autistic children’s prosocial behaviour. Conclusions: Findings encourage Autistic strengths-based approaches and caution is expressed regarding findings possibly linked to Autistic masking.
    Scopus© Citations 7  77