School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Margaret Gopaul


autism spectrum disorder, restricted repetitive behaviors, beta-adrenergic blockers, Propranolol




Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is diagnosed when an individual has persistent deficits in social communication and restrictive repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities. Restricted repetitive behaviors (RRBs) are typically triggered by anxiety and can cause significant detriment to an individual's life. While there is no cure for ASD, there are pharmacological treatment options for the symptoms caused by ASD. Propranolol, a beta-adrenergic antagonist, is used to treat anxiety and shows promise in reducing many of the symptoms associated with ASD. This study explores the effects of Propranolol on RRBs in a sample size of 24 Sprague Dawley rats. Additionally, this study sought to examine if gender moderates a change in RRBs once Propranolol is administered. This study used a quasi-experimental within-subject design to demonstrate the effectiveness of Propranolol injections on Sprague-Dawley rats while undergoing a marble burying test. I used a Two-Way ANOVA to compare the variance in each group mean to the variance of the dependent variables. My findings showed that Propranolol had a significant effect on RRBs in both male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. These findings imply that there are alternative treatment options that may be more effective and less aversive for the side effects associated with ASD. Additionally, males and females may be affected differently in terms of treatment options, and more research into the symptoms of ASD and treatment options is pertinent.

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