Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Laurel Wainwright

Second Advisor

Alice Carter

Third Advisor

Kerim Munir


The present study expanded on several areas of the available research regarding the use of psychotropic medications among individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Numerous studies have been completed assessing the therapeutic benefits of specific psychotropic medications. However, scant research has been completed establishing an understanding of the dissemination of these medications The present study assessed specific problem behaviors, parent education, cognitive ability, diagnosis and classroom placement as predictors of general psychotropic medication use, and antipsychotic and antidepressant medication use specifically, utilizing a cohort of individuals with an ASD at three time points. These predictors were assessed both in individual logistic regressions and in a final logistic regression model incorporating [problem behaviors, parent education, cognitive ability and classroom placement as predictors of use. Main findings indicate that antipsychotic medication use is significantly correlated with aggressive symptoms, classroom assistance, and diagnosis. However, when combined into one logistic regression only aggressive symptoms and classroom assistance remained significant predictors. Classroom assistance was the most robust predictor of general psychotropic medication use. The findings of this study suggest that it is likely that both behavioral and demographic variables contribute to the likelihood of utilizing a psychotropic medication. Further studies assessing behavioral and demographic variables, both singly and in combined models, are warranted to promote best medication practices at the individual level.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.