HPU Professor Presents Williams Syndrome Research Findings at Conference

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HIGH POINT, N.C., April 13, 2009 – Dr. Kirsten Li-Barber, assistant professor of psychology at High Point University, recently presented a poster entitled “Social Profile in Children and Adolescents with Williams syndrome” at the Society for Research in Child Development Conference (SRCD) in Denver, Colo.

The purpose of her research study was to examine the social functioning of children and adolescents with Williams syndrome (WS). Although these individuals are described as having a highly outgoing and sociable personality, research has indicated that they also have difficulty maintain high-quality peer relationships.

Li-Barber administered the Social Skills Rating Scale (SSRS) to parents and teachers of children and adolescents with Williams syndrome, and compared these responses to see if there were significant patterns of social functioning that both parties agreed represented deficits in WS. 

What she found was that although these individuals appeared to function at a social level that was significantly lower than typically developing individuals, they were still in the “normal range.” She believes it could be due to the fact that the measure used is developed to assess the presence of pro-social or positive social skills behaviors as opposed to the presence of negative social behaviors. Her research leads to a better indication of what these individuals do well, as opposed to what they do not do well. 

The SRCD conference is dedicated solely to research with children and adolescent/emerging adulthood populations.

“This conference is a great opportunity for developmental, clinical, social and personality psychologists to get together to exchange ideas, share research findings and come up with new and more targeted research directions,” says Li-Barber.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in a fun environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with more than 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 50 countries and more than 40 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” The university offers 66 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate-degree majors. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at www.highpoint.edu.

Chris DudleyVice President for Administration336-841-4530cdudley@highpoint.edu

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