Improving Mood State Assessment for Adolescents with Limited Language on the Spectrum

Julia A. Cornish, Christie N. Pellow, Dr. James Arruda & Dr. Vanessa Rainey, Dr. James Arruda, Psychology Department, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida 32514

The purpose of this research is to establish a reliable and valid method of testing transient mood state in individuals with limited receptive language on the autism spectrum. Due to the inability to communicate effectively, there is concern that individuals with limited language on the autism spectrum are experiencing internal negative mood states such as depression without treatment. There is an absence of psychometric assessment options for individuals with a lack of receptive language skills. The current standard for assessing emotional state is the Profile of Mood States (POMS); however, the test uses a Likert Scale which can be difficult for individuals with a deficit in receptive language to comprehend. The purpose of this research is to expand the usability of the Visual Analog Mood Scales (VAMS) as an optional assessment of transient mood state for adolescents with limited language on the autism spectrum. The VAMS are an established psychometric measurement for adults with a lack of expressive language.  The VAMS have been successfully administered to patients that have had electroconvulsive therapy, dementia, stroke, neurological impairment, as well as bilingual pain patients.  The VAMS internal consistency reliability have Cronbach Alpha measurements ranging from .82 to .93 for these populations, suggesting the VAMS can bridge the lingual gap in adult groups with limited language. Before administering any internal mood testing, we will assess the adolescents’ receptive language using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – 4th edition. We will test the POMS 2-Y and the VAMS across two sessions in counterbalanced order to assess the validity and test-retest reliability in the autism spectrum disorder teen population with limited language. While researching the efficacy of the VAMS, we will make observations about the individuals’ experience during testing. This information may help us to refine treatment approaches associated with the disorder.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Julia Cornish

Institution: University of West Florida

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7039