Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Michael G. Chovanec

Abstract

This research paper explores how components of Expressed Emotion (Critical Comments, Emotional Over-involvement, Warmth) experienced in the classroom are influencing student behavior and symptoms for students with Autism. Qualitative data was collected from one school social worker. This study confirms and builds upon previous research on Critical Comments and Warmth. Critical comments, especially when delivered by a staff member poorly, increased maladaptive behavior and decreased social interaction and communication. Warmth inversely decreased maladaptive behaviors while increasing communication and social interaction. Emotional Over-involvement was dependent upon the individual student and neither confirms or rejects previous research. Each member of the classroom group impacted how these Expressed Emotion components were expressed. Staff that were well educated and/or experienced in working with students with Autism were described as displaying high levels of Warmth. Study limitations and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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