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The Relationship between Theory of Mind and Traits Associated with Autism Spectrum Condition and Pathological Demand Avoidance Presentations

Bishop, Ellie; (2018) The Relationship between Theory of Mind and Traits Associated with Autism Spectrum Condition and Pathological Demand Avoidance Presentations. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between theory of mind (ToM) and behaviour in childhood. It is presented in three parts. Part 1 is a systematic literature review examining the relationship between ToM and aggressive behaviour in childhood. The review focuses on studies of typically developing children which report correlation analyses between ToM and aggression. Using a meta-analysis, the review found a weak but significant relationship between better-developed ToM and lower levels of aggressive behaviour. Part 2, the empirical research paper, explores the profile of pathological demand avoidance (PDA) in autism spectrum conditions (ASC), and investigates the relationship between ToM and behaviours and traits associated with (1) ASC and (2) PDA. Quantitative data were collected via parent-report questionnaires and continuous and between-group analyses were conducted. Better parent-reported ToM was associated with lower levels of ASC traits, although no association was found between ToM and PDA traits. In addition, the findings support previous research arguing for the use of the PDA label to describe a set of symptoms within the autism spectrum. The results are discussed with reference to the wider literature and methodological limitations. This was part of a joint project with Anna Goodson, trainee clinical psychologist. Part 3 is a critical appraisal on the research as a whole. The methodological challenges and limitations of the study are discussed. Broader conceptual issues are considered before concluding with further reflections on my own personal experience of the research process.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: The Relationship between Theory of Mind and Traits Associated with Autism Spectrum Condition and Pathological Demand Avoidance Presentations
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Theory of mind, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Autism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057038
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