Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders


Jane Puhlman

Second Committee Member

Sarah Howorth

Third Committee Member

Nancy Hall


Social skills deficits as well as comorbid anxiety are two characteristics commonly experienced by people with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Level 1 (ASD-1; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). These characteristics are also both contributors to a lower quality of life for young adults (Smith et al., 2019). The current study aimed to identify how the quality of life and anxiety are affected by social skills intervention, specifically the PEERS® for Young Adults program (Laugeson, 2017). PEERS® for Young Adults is an evidence-based social skills intervention intended to support individuals with ASD-1 (Laugeson, 2017). Prior research has demonstrated its success in both increasing social skills and reducing anxiety (McVey et al., 2016; Factor et al., 2022; and Hill et al., 2017). The current study is the first to investigate the change in quality of life for people with ASD-1 following social skills intervention. The current study used a pre-intervention and post-intervention within subject design. The participants (n=5) were between the ages of 18 and 28 (x̄=20) and were administered the Multidimensional Student Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS) and General Anxiety Disorder - 7 Item Scale (GAD-7). The results across all domains (e.g. Family, Work/School, Friends, Home and Self) , measured by the MSLSS, showed that, individually, participants' satisfaction with life increased. As a group, the change in life satisfaction from pre-intervention to post-intervention was insignificant. The results of the GAD-7 indicated a decrease in the individual participants' levels of anxiety. This change in anxiety levels pre-intervention to post-intervention was approaching significance. The most prominent limitation in the current study was the small sample size. Given low enrollment and a moderate attrition rate (38%), the results were not likely to demonstrate statistical significance. It is recommended that future researchers seek larger sample sizes through investigating multiple PEERS® for Young Adults groups and accumulate their data over time. Despite statistical insignificance, this study supports the use of PEERS® for Young Adults for people with ASD-1 to increase satisfaction with life and decrease levels of anxiety. This study also serves as an outline for future researchers to further investigate the relationships between quality of life, anxiety and PEERS® for Young Adults.