Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Terri Sullivan

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Myers

Third Advisor

Dr. Maureen Conroy

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kevin Sutherland

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Wendy Kliewer


A significant, yet understudied issue that demands attention is the experience of peer victimization among adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Research indicates that youth with disabilities, including those with ASDs, are victimized more frequently as compared to their typically developing peers. However, little is known about the peer victimization experience for adolescents with ASDs beyond its frequency of occurrence. This study examined relations between peer victimization and individual, peer, and parent factors and outcomes including internalizing and externalizing symptoms among adolescents with ASDs. No significant indirect effects were found for peer victimization on relations between individual social-cognitive and emotion regulation factors and internalizing or externalizing symptoms. Moderating effects of peer (i.e., friendship companionship, closeness, and help) factors on relations between peer victimization and internalizing and externalizing symptoms were not supported. Significant direct effects were found as higher levels of friendship companionship and help were associated with lower levels of internalizing symptoms. Parental knowledge moderated the relations between both adolescent-reported and parent-reported peer victimization and internalizing but not externalizing symptoms. Study findings have implications for prevention and intervention efforts including adolescents with ASDs and directions for future research.


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