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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Felin Hsiao

First Committee Member

Ruth V. Brittin

Second Committee Member

Matthew P. Normand


The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of music-based peer mediation interventions to enhance the quality of social interaction for high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Specifically, it assessed whether adolescents with ASD demonstrate a difference in group participation, eye contact, and smile with peers within a music therapist mediated or a peer mediated instrumental music improvisation group.

Two groups consisting of one high school student with ASD and one or two general education peers were evaluated using an alternating treatment design with an initial baseline phase. Partial interval recording was used to measure social interaction within each condition.

Both students demonstrated a high level of group participation in music sessions. One student demonstrated eye contact and group participation behavior that was distinctly higher than was demonstrated during baseline. Social validity reports suggested that both students with ASI) were more motivated to participate in the music groups than in other structured social activities at school. There was no marked difference observed in level of group participation demonstrated by cither student with ASD between the music therapist mediated condition and the peer mediated condition. Implications for future research and clinical applications arc discussed.



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