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Title: Understanding the cognitive and behavioural sequalae of child maltreatment
Author: Young-Southward, Genevieve
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2020
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Background: Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED) is a psychosocial disorder associated with child social neglect characterised by indiscriminate friendliness towards strangers. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by impaired communication, fixed interests and repetitive behaviour. Problems with social relationships presenting in children with these diagnoses may appear superficially similar, yet there are differences in the quality of social interactions between groups which may be best identified via behavioural observation. Objective: This study examined the ability of an existing tool (The Waiting Room Observation Scale, WRO), designed to aid diagnosis of DSED, to differentiate between children with DSED symptoms and with ASD. Methods: Secondary analysis involving multinomial regression was conducted on existing data from typically developing children (n = 158), children with DSED symptoms (n = 59) and children with ASD (n = 16). Suggested improvements to the WRO were identified via qualitative behavioural observations of typically developing children (n =7), children with symptoms of DSED (n = 5), and children with diagnoses of ASD (n = 6) in an unfamiliar setting. Results: Behavioural observations demonstrated that while children with symptoms of DSED showed interest in strangers, children with ASD only interacted with strangers for specific reasons, e.g. to talk about their special interest or to reach for a toy. This difference was reflected in the analysis of the WRO: a lack of shyness with strangers was one of only two items that predicted DSED symptoms but not ASD group membership. Conclusions: Adding descriptive details outlining key differences between children presenting with ASD and with symptoms of DSED to specific WRO items could help clinicians to reflect upon these differences when formulating a child’s difficulties with social relationships or considering differential diagnosis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology