A preliminary study on the reliability and validity of using experience sampling method in children with autism spectrum disorders

Dev Neurorehabil. 2015;18(6):383-9. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2013.855274. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Objective: This study investigated the feasibility of using experience sampling method (ESM) to study everyday experiences in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Methods: Six boys, aged 8-12 years, with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome carried an iPod touch with a pre-installed ESM survey about what they were doing, where, with whom and the quality of their experiences and associated emotions. They were randomly signalled seven times daily for seven consecutive days to respond to the survey.

Results: The average signal response rates (56.8%) was acceptable and the mean time of survey completion (1 minute 53 seconds) was within acceptable range. Split-week analysis supported the consistency of experiences reporting while correlations among theoretically linked quality of experiences and emotions showed the internal logic of participants' responses; thus supporting internal reliability and validity, respectively.

Conclusion: The study demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of using ESM in exploring participants' everyday life experiences.

Keywords: Asperger syndrome; autism; experience sampling method; quality of experiences.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Asperger Syndrome / psychology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*