Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Bronwyn Harman

Second Advisor

Abigail Lewis

Abstract

School-aged females with Asperger's Disorder (AD) are significantly affected by debilitating anxiety. At present, no empirically validated treatments exist to treat this anxiety. To investigate this affect and treatment gap, a mixed-methods revelatory single-case design, built on evidence-based treatment elements was designed and tested. Solo pianist, David Helfgott rated, performed and provided musical performances by Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Claude Debussy which were listened to once each morning before school by a 10-year-old female with AD. Anxiety was recorded via a self-report Daily Journal and parent-report Spence Child Anxiety Scale for 20 consecutive school days. Results indicated support for the hypothesis that music reduces anxiety for a child with AD via a noticeable reduction in mean anxiety and a statistically significant within-subjects t-test performed on daily Numerical Visual Analogue Anxiety Scale (NVAAS) anxiety scores. In addition, an analysis of child drawings and researcher journal entries revealed information regarding cognitive abilities and music selection preferences. The implications of these results are discussed along with future research and therapeutic directions.

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