Objectives: The goal of this study was to extend our research through the development and validation of a parent-report questionnaire measuring the ability of HFA children to control their autism-related social symptoms and/or their comorbid internalizing and externalizing symptoms.
Methods: Parents completed the SCQ, ASSQ, BASC, and the newly developed Controllability of Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). The two primary CBQ measures were the Autism Symptom Control (ASC) index and the Comorbidity Symptom Control (CSC) index. Children completed the BASC.
Results: Data were collected on 27 children (3 females) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The results indicated that higher parent ratings of autism symptom control were related to their reports of lower SCQ symptom presentation (SCQ Total, F =6.863, p<.05), but not to their BASC ratings of comorbidity. Conversely, parent ratings of higher control of comorbid symptoms were marginally related to their lower BASC ratings of Externalizing Disorders (F = 3.794, p<.10) and attention problems (F = 2.971, p<.10). In addition, higher parent rating of autism symptom control was associated with more optimal child self rating on the BASC locus of control scale (F =5.446, p<.05).
Conclusions: The validity of the divergent scales of the CBQ was supported by findings that parent reports of ASC was specifically related to their SCQ ratings and parent report of CSC was specifically related to their BASC ratings. Evidence of construct validity was provided by the associations observed between parent report of ASC and children’s self-report of the degree to which they experienced control over life events on the BASC Locus of Control scale. Thus, initial data suggest the CBQ may be a useful new measure in research on self-regulation of children affected by HFA.