Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Scicnce (Psychology) Honours


School of Psychology and Social Sciences


Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Professor Lynne Cohen

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Julie Ann Pooley


The current study was designed to partially extend previous research (Nicholson, Kehle, Bray, & Heest, 2011; Rosenthal-Malek & Mitchell, 1997) by examining the effects of physical activity on the 1) attention span and 2) health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children in Singapore. Male participants (N = 12) aged 2-6 years, diagnosed with ASD were randomly assigned to either a physical activity (experimental) or non-physical activity group (control). In the physical activity group, participants were administered 8 tri-cycling sessions; together, both groups of participants were measured for their attention span, and their parents completed the HRQoL questionnaires. The results revealed that as the exercise session increases, participants in the physical activity group demonstrated increasingly longer duration of attention span compared to the control group. These results further extended the findings of Nicholson et al. (2011) and Rosenthal-Malek and Mitchell (1997) that physical activity enhances cognition of ASD children. However, the results do not support the effects of physical activity on the overall HRQoL and instead revealed the improvement on the social functioning subscale. In general, these results suggested the beneficial effects of physical activity on ASD children and its incorporation into the early intervention should be recommended.


Thesis Location