Article

The Friendship Questionnaire: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, and Normal Sex Differences

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Abstract

Friendship is an important part of normal social functioning, yet there are precious few instruments for measuring individual differences in this domain. In this article, we report a new selfreport questionnaire, the Friendship Questionnaire (FQ), for use with adults of normal intelligence. A high score on the FQ is achieved by the respondent reporting that they enjoy close, empathic, supportive, caring friendships that are important to them; that they like and are interested in people; and that they enjoy interacting with others for its own sake. The FQ has a maximum score of 135 and a minimum of zero. In Study 1, we carried out a study of n = 76 (27 males and 49 females) adults from a general population, to test for previously reported sex differences in friendships. This confirmed that women scored significantly higher than men. In Study 2, we employed the FQ with n = 68 adults (51 males, 17 females) with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism to test the theory that autism is an extreme form of the male brain. The adults with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism scored significantly lower on the FQ than both the male and female controls from Study 1. The FQ thus reveals both a sex difference in the style of friendship in the general population, and provides support for the extreme male brain theory of autism.

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... Consistent with this view, Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright (2003) found that autistic adultsmale and female -scored lower (indicative of, for example, less empathetic friendships) than neurotypical adults on their Friendship Questionnaire (FQ). The number of autistic women in this study, however, was small (17 females relative to 51 males), rendering it possible that they did not have the power to detect significant differences. ...
... While autistic females' lived experience needs much more thorough and extensive research to address the current gender imbalance in autism research, the research in this PhD sought to address this knowledge gap with a particular focus on relationships and conflict experiences. There is only one study which has previously carried out mixed-methods research into these topics (Sedgewick et al., 2016), although there have been narrative investigations (Bargiela et al., 2016;Kanfizser et al., 2017) and some earlier quantitative investigations of gender and friendship in autistic adults (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003). ...
... There are two key theoretical approaches that have been discussed throughout this PhD -that of the Extreme Male Brain theory of Baron-Cohen et al. (2002;2010), and the social motivation theory of Chevallier et al. (2012). The Extreme Male Brain (EMB) theory is an explicitly gendered theoretical account of autism which posits that autistic people have 'masculinised' brains and behaviours (Auyeung et al., 2009), including in terms of their friendship characteristics (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003). The studies presented in this PhD, however, suggest that this is not the case, at least in adolescence: while there were some commonalities between boys and girls on the autism spectrum, there were far more similarities between autistic and neurotypical girls. ...
Thesis
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Despite a wealth of interest in, and research on, gender differences in the friendships and social relationships of neurotypical children and adults, there is a paucity of research on such differences in individuals on the autism spectrum. Only three published papers focus specifically on the friendships of autistic individuals in the same age range as the work of this PhD, and these have included predominantly male participants, who do not represent the range of female experiences. This PhD therefore sought to redress this imbalance by focussing on the peer relationship, friendships, and conflict experiences of adolescent girls, as well as women on the autism spectrum, in comparison to their autistic male and neurotypical female peers. Parental views on the relationships of autistic girls were also sought. In Chapter One, I review the literature investigating peer relationships amongst autistic adolescents, neurotypical adolescents, and autistic adults, focussing on their experiences of conflict within those relationships and their potential impact. Chapters Two and Three focus on data from adolescents. In Chapter Two, I present data from a mixed-methods study showing that autistic adolescents rate their best-friendships as like those of neurotypical adolescents, but that autistic adolescents experience far more peer conflict, and these experiences are qualitatively different for autistic girls compared to all other groups. In Chapter Three, I examine the factors that potentially underpin friendship strength and victimisation for male and female adolescents, following the results of Chapter Two and using data from the same participants. In Chapter Four, which focuses specifically on adult women, I report data from autistic and neurotypical adult women, examining similar constructs and questions to the adolescent study (Chapter Two). In Chapter Five, I directly compare the qualitative data from autistic girls, autistic women, and the girls’ parents. I take a developmental perspective, examining which factors might lead to the potential vulnerability described in Chapter Four, to understand which preventative measures might be used to support autistic girls as they grow up. In Chapter Six, I discuss the significance of these findings in the context of the extant literature on both autism in girls and women, and of the peer relationships of autistic adolescents. I conclude by suggesting that the relationships and social experiences of autistic girls and women are qualitatively different to those of both autistic boys and neurotypical girls and women. These findings suggest that autistic girls and women require specialised and targeted support to enable them to successfully and safely engage with their peers in adolescence and beyond.
... However, no research exists on the perception of friendship in children and young adults from Asian countries, which, as stated earlier, have some of the highest ASD rates worldwide. To address this problem, three standardised questionnaires were used to measure the perception of friendship in the studied population: Bukowski et al.'s (1994) friendship questionnaire, the Cambridge Friendship Questionnaire by Baron-Cohen (2003), and the McGill Friendship Questionnaire (2014). The three questionnaires examine participants' perceptions regarding how strong their relationships are, how important they are to them, and what functions they serve. ...
... The Cambridge Friendship Questionnaire (FQ) developed by Baron-Cohen (2003) provides a score on a 0-185 scale that reflects the importance of friendship (i.e., the extent to which someone enjoys close, empathic, supportive, caring friendships). As the measure was based on the most common views on friendship in the population, receiving higher scores is related to easier and better socialisation and thus to giving more importance to friendship values (Baron-Cohen, 2005). ...
... As friends have been shown to help individuals manage stressful life situations and to improve the general well-being of the individual (Bishop-Fitzpatrick et al., 2017), it is important for healthcare professionals to provide more support to those individuals that find it hard to relate to others and to build long-lasting friendships. As seen in Chapter 3, most people, regardless of their culture or of whether or not they have a diagnosis of ASD, had high scores (as stated in the scoring manuals; Baron-Cohen, 2003;Bukowski et al.'s, 1994;Mendelson & Aboud, 2014) in the friendship questionnaires and thus have a need for meaningful friendship. ...
Thesis
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Objective: Friendship has an important role in the social life of adults. This study investigated the relationship between friendship and having a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in two cultural groups: White Western and East Asian. Method: Participants (N = 182) aged 18 to 30 years completed five online questionnaires to assess their perception of friendship (the quality of friendship, the importance given to friendship, and the feelings one has for a specific friend), their autism traits, and to collect demographic information. A principal component analysis revealed a single factor structure thus the three friendship questionnaires (Bukowski, FQ, and McGill) were computed into one variable. A 2 x 2 between-groups ANOVA was performed to investigate differences in composite friendship scores between the cultural groups and the ASD diagnosis groups. A Mann–Whitney U test was used to assess if there was a difference in AQ scores between the ASD diagnosis groups in order to validate the diagnoses. Results: There was not a significant interaction between cultural group, ASD diagnosis, and friendship scores. There were, however, significant differences in the friendship scores between the cultural groups and the ASD diagnosis groups. The highest scores were obtained by the non-ASD White Western group, followed by the non-ASD East Asian sample. The ASD East Asian participants had the lowest friendship scores. Conclusions: Although there was not a significant interaction between the three variables, the results suggest that perceptions of friendship vary between White Western and East Asian cultural groups as well as between those with and without ASD diagnoses.
... Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright [42] also examined the possibility that females with ASD exhibit social skills which are closer in quality and content to that of TD females than males with ASD. They assessed 27 TD adult males and 49 TD adult females, and compared these to 51 adult males and 17 adult females diagnosed with ASD on the friendship questionnaire (FQ) [40]. ...
... If social and emotional advantages possessed by TD females compared to TD males are in anyway evident in females with ASD, as the evidence above would suggest, differences should be evident in the way females with ASD behave and appear compared to males with ASD. In conjunction with Wing's Camouflage Hypothesis, it was expected that females with ASD would score differently to males with ASD on Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright's FQ [42]. More specifically, it was expected that females with ASD would score higher than males with ASD on the FQ. ...
... Originally developed by Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright [42], the FQ is designed to measure friendship quality, understanding and empathy. The FQ is a brief self-report measure that requires participants to respond to 35 items, 27 of which are scored as per the original scoring protocol [42]. ...
Article
Purpose: Individuals with High Functioning Autism (HFA) experience high levels of underemployment and unemployment, resulting in negative economic, social, and health outcomes. Given what is known about labor market participation difficulties experienced by women generally, and the paucity of research concerning women with HFA, this systematic review synthesized what is known about the labor market experiences of women with HFA. Method: A systematic review of the literature concerning adult females with HFA in relation to the workplace yielded 1947 results; 11 met inclusion criteria being based on original data, but not necessarily focusing solely on women. Results: The total number participants with HFA across all studies was 731 (M = 66.45, SD = 95.44, Mdn = 18.00) aged between 18 and 70 years (M = 34.38, SD = 7.71); females represented 38% (n = 279) of those sampled. The principal challenges reported for individuals with HFA at work were communication, social interaction, and stress, together with negative mental and physical health. Conclusion: These results should be interpreted with caution. Of the studies found, 73% were qualitative and based on small samples. Only one paper differentiated female data in analyses. These factors combined suggest large-scale mixed method research focused on females with HFA is required to gain an accurate insight into the challenges faced in the workplace, to in turn inform intervention and support. However, implications for rehabilitation based on what is known are discussed. • Implication for Rehabilitation • Unemployment and underemployment of persons with High Functioning Autism (HFA) poses social, health and economic issues for both individuals and the wider community. • Those with HFA have the intellectual capacity to make a substantial contribution to the workplace. • Based on what is known, some of the challenges for females with HFA might be similar to those experienced by men with HFA, however it is possible that there are gender-based differences (in both type and severity of challenges) that require attention.
... Empatia jest niezbędna do nawiązania prawidłowego dialogu, zarówno na płaszczyźnie interpersonalnej, jak i ogólnospołecznej. Deficyty w zakresie empatyzowania mogą być charakterystyczne dla zaburzeń związanych ze spektrum autyzmu [20][21][22] oraz psychopatii [23]. ...
... Wyniki dla wersji oryginalnej narzędzia liczone są według następującego klucza odpowiedzi: "raczej tak" -1 pkt, "zdecydowanie tak" -2 pkt, a pozostałe odpowiedzi -"raczej nie" oraz "zdecydowanie nie" -0 pkt. Dotyczy to pozycji nr 1, 2, 5, 6,7,8,10,11,13,15,16,17,18,19,20,21. Dla pozostałych pozycji (nr 3,4,9,12,14,22) przyjmuje się punktację odwróconą: za odpowiedzi "raczej nie" przyznaje się 1 pkt, a za odpowiedzi "zdecydowanie nie" -2 pkt. ...
... Dla ogółu badanej grupy pozycje 4, 5, 9 i 14 mają niską moc dyskryminacyjną, co może świadczyć o niskiej wartości tych pozycji dla całego narzędzia lub też o braku jego jednorodności teoretycznej [29,30], choć tego nie przewiduje opracowanie wersji oryginalnej. Kiedy jednak wykonano szereg analiz w podziale na grupy wiekowe, okazało się, że w grupie osób w wieku 50+ korelacje pozycji z ogółem skali były mniejsze niż 0,2 aż dla 9 itemów (4,5,9,12,14,18,19,21,22). W grupie osób młodszych jedynie pozycja 5 korelowała z ogółem skali na poziomie wyraźnie niższym niż pozostałe pozycje. ...
Article
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OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present study was to analyze the psychometric properties of the Polish-language version of the EQ-Short questionnaire, designed to measure affective and cognitive empathy. METHODS: 940 subjects, aged 15-80, took part in the study. Subjects fluent in both Polish and English (N = 31) completed the questionnaire in the original English version and its Polish translation. The remaining subjects (N = 909) participated in a study designed to verify construct validity and reliability of the Polish version of the tool. RESULTS: The Polish and English versions of the EQ-Short show linguistic equivalence at a satisfactory level (r = 0.80, p < 0.001). Tests of validity and reliability of the translated tool showed that the Polish-language EQ-Short has good psychometric properties (Cronbach's alpha = 0.78), comparable to the original version. In all age groups there were statistically significant sex differences in EQ-Short scores: women scored higher than men. CONCLUSIONS: The Polish-language adaptation of EQ-Short is linguistically and psychometrically similar to the English original and meets the criteria of a reliable tool for measuring empathy.
... Cambridge Friendship Questionnaire-CFQ [33]. The CFQ is used to assess the motivation for and enjoyment of close friendships for adults. ...
... The ARS characterizes an individual's social network and the relative health of familial relationships, intimate partnerships, and friendships. The ARS is designed to yield two [33] scores: one total score for each figure (reflecting the strength of one's need for relationships) and one set of sub-scores assessing seeking proximity; receiving emotional support; receiving reassurance for behavior; receiving encouragement and help; sharing information and experience; and giving nurturance. These scores reflect the impact that figure has on one's life. ...
Article
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Background Individuals with anorexia nervosa have reported feelings of loneliness, social anhedonia, and interpersonal difficulties. This study sought to clarify the nature of interpersonal relationships in adults with anorexia, which may help improve existing interventions while also facilitating the attainment of something that might compete with the drive for thinness: friendships. Methods The present study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate friendship experiences in three groups: anorexia (n = 27), participants with a history of anorexia who are weight restored (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 24). Thematic analysis was used to isolate the most prevalent themes that emerged from an open-ended interview of experiencing friendships in a subset of participants. Three self-report questionnaires investigating friendship valuation and attachment styles were also administered. Results 11 unique themes emerged in the data: social comparison, reciprocity, trust, fear of negative evaluation, perceived skills deficit, logistical barriers, reliability, identity issue, low interest, similarity, and conflict avoidance. Only 17% of those with anorexia reported experiencing friendships as positive, relative to 82% of healthy controls and 52% of weight restored participants. Lastly, on self-report measures, participants with anorexia reported greater reliance on themselves versus others, greater use of care-seeking behaviors, and more fear/anger at the thought of losing an attachment figure (p < .05 in all cases). Conclusion Results suggest that individuals with anorexia have particular challenges which interfere with the formation and maintenance of friendships, such as viewing friendships negatively and struggling with social comparisons in friendships. Assessing and addressing barriers to intimacy may motivate those with anorexia to relinquish dangerous symptoms that maintain the illness.
... While social interaction difficulties, as discussed in Chapter 2, lie at the core of psychiatric conditions such as autism, prominent research paradigms remain methodologically individualistic, even when it comes to research on inherently relational aspects, such as friendship quality (e.g., Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003). Departing from an individualistic paradigm, two-person psychophysiology aims at situating psychopathology back where it unfolds and manifests itself, in social relations between persons. ...
... Baron-Cohen et al., 2006) to interpersonal mismatch thereof and from abstract individual impressions about friendship (cf. Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003) to concrete impressions of one another within specific relations through adapting established questionnaires (i.e., Friendship Quality Scale; Thien et al., 2012). ...
Thesis
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That psychological sciences suffer from a profound crisis is probably not extremely controversial. Yet, arguably, the recently debated replication failure is nothing but a symptom of deeply rooted dichotomies and ontological commitments lying at its core. Undeniably, essential aspects of the human condition are typically studied in isolation via applying static categories, while philosophical considerations and human practice are largely neglected. In this context and drawing inspiration from real-life experience through a Vygotskian lens, this thesis attempts to motivate a systematic shift of focus from being to becoming; in fact becoming-with. More concretely, leaning on the dialectical method, cultural-historical theory and recent developments of social computational neuroscience, (i.) this thesis presents the dialectical attunement account which argues that a multiscale analysis of social interaction might allow us to scientifically reconsider the self, beyond the individual, where it really emerges, unfolds and manifests itself — in social relations. In this light, (ii.) it puts forward the dialectical misattunement hypothesis, which views autism and broadly psychopathology as a dynamic interpersonal mismatch, rather than a (disordered) function of single brains. Critically, (iii.) it operationalizes these hypotheses by establishing a novel empirical framework, namely two-person psychophysiology, which measures and analyzes the multiscale dynamics of social interaction. Deploying this framework, this thesis empirically demonstrates that (iv.) real-time dynamics of social interaction do matter in both collective and individual dimensions ‒even beyond awareness‒ lending support to second-person and enactivist proposals. With regard to psychopathology, this thesis demonstrates that (v.) it is primarily the mismatch of autistic traits –not traits per se– which predicts core aspects of interpersonal attunement in real-life social relations, offering a first empirical validation of the dialectical misattunement hypothesis. Taken together, this thesis tries to break free from dichotomies such as internalism/externalism or healthy/patient, in experiential, theoretical, methodological and empirical regards. Such a dialectical and empirical approach to human becoming in and through social interaction encourages a social change pertinent to various fields of human research and practice, ranging from psychiatry and pedagogy to ethics and artificial intelligence.
... Typisk utviklede kvinner presterer signifikant bedre på mentaliseringsoppgaver enn menn på samme alder (Baron-Cohen mfl., 2015). Kvinnene presterer også signifikant bedre enn mennene på spørreskjema som tapper vennskap (The Friendship Questionnaire; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003) og det samme gjelder for empati (The Empathy Questionnaire; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004). ...
... I en rekke undersøkelser finner man at evnen til å mentalisere er svekket hos personer med ASD (Happé, 1994;Kaland mfl., 2002Kaland mfl., , 2005Kaland, Mortensen & Smith, 2011). De tidligste undersøkelsene av denne funksjonen indikerer at jenter/kvinner presterer bedre på disse oppgavene enn gutter/menn (Baron-Cohen, 2002;Baron-Cohen mfl., 1999, 2003Happe , 1995). Kvinner med ASD synes å ha bedre pragmatisk forståelse og mentaliserer bedre enn mennene med samme diagnose (Frank, Baron-Cohen & Ganzel, 2015). ...
Article
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Abstrakt: Kjønnsforskjeller mellom personer med en autismespekterdiagnose (ASD) vedrørende kognitiv fungering er vanskelig å avgjøre på grunn av betydelige metodiske forskjeller på tvers av studier. Forholdsvis høyt-fungerende jenter/kvinner med ASD presterer gjennomgående bedre enn gutter/menn på kognitive tester, men forskjellene i de tidligste årene er små. I noen studier finner man imidlertid at gutter/menn fungerer like godt eller bedre enn jenter/kvinner, i det minste på noen typer kognitive oppgaver. Dette gjelder saerlig de svakt fungerende innenfor ASD. Forholdsvis høyt-fungerende jenter/kvinner med ASD synes å vaere mer motivert enn gutter/menn for å laere seg sosiale normer og nyanser i kommunikasjon. De har mer normale saerinteresser og viser mindre repetitiv og stereotyp atferd enn gutter/menn, og noen høyt-fungerende jenter/kvinner med ASD greier å kamuflere de autistiske symptomene sine gjennom å imitere sosial atferd. Slik går mange "under radaren" i forbindelse med diagnostiske utredninger. Nøkkelord: ASD, jenter/kvinner, gutter/menn, kognitive kjønnsforskjeller, typisk utvikling, hukommelse, IQ, "theory of mind", eksekutive funksjoner, "kamuflering". Nils Kaland er dr. polit. og professor emeritus ved høgskolen i Lillehammer. Kaland forsker på kognitive funksjoner hos mennesker innenfor autismespekteret og publiserer jevnlig, både nasjonalt og internasjonalt. FAGFELLEVURDERT
... Approximately one quarter to one-third of adults with ASD 4 report having at least one friendship (Eaves & Ho, 2008;Howlin, Goode, Hutton, & Rutter, 2004) and the same percentage report spending time with others in consequence of their hobby, or attend a club or church regularly (Eaves & Ho, 2008). Although highfunctioning adults with ASD do have friendships, their relationships are less close, less empathic, less supportive and less important to the individual, compared to people without ASD (Baron- Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003). However, perceived informal social support is related to quality of life (Renty & Roeyers, 2006) as well as marital adaptation (Renty & Roeyers, 2007) in adults with ASD. ...
Book
Samenvatting (Summary in Dutch) Sociale netwerken van mensen met een lichte verstandelijke beperking: kenmerken en interventies Ref: Asselt-Goverts, A. E. van. (2016). Social networks of people with mild intellectual disabilities: characteristics and interventions (dissertation). Tilburg: Tilburg University. Het onderzoek dat beschreven is in dit proefschrift richt zich op de sociale netwerken van mensen met lichte verstandelijke beperkingen (LVB). Bij sociale netwerken gaat het om familie, vrienden, buren, collega’s en kennissen; dit wordt ook wel het informele netwerk genoemd. Daarnaast kan het bij het sociale netwerk ook om professionals gaan; dit wordt ook wel het formele netwerk genoemd. Een sociaal netwerk is cruciaal voor de sociale inclusie en de kwaliteit van bestaan van mensen met LVB. Als netwerken klein zijn of onvoldoende steun bieden, hebben professionals een belangrijke taak in het versterken en uitbreiden ervan. Daarom richt dit proefschrift zich niet alleen op de kenmerken van de sociale netwerken, maar ook op interventies om deze netwerken te versterken of uit te breiden. In de algemene introductie (hoofdstuk 1) wordt een kort overzicht gegeven van achtergrond-informatie over sociale inclusie, beleid, mensen met LVB, hun netwerken en netwerkinterventies. Sociale inclusie richt zich op twee domeinen: sociale relaties en participatie in de samenleving. In dit proefschrift hebben we ons gericht op het eerste domein: het netwerk van sociale relaties. Bij de analyse van het sociale netwerk van mensen met LVB gaat het niet alleen om omvang en samenstelling, maar ook om andere structurele kenmerken zoals bijvoorbeeld bereikbaarheid, duur van de relatie, initiatief en frequentie van het contact. Daarnaast richt een netwerkanalyse zich op zogenaamde functionele aspecten, zoals emotionele en praktische steun. Steeds meer mensen met een verstandelijke beperking wonen zelfstandig in de samenleving met als doel te participeren in die samenleving. De Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning (Wmo) verwacht onafhankelijkheid van maatschappelijke diensten, zelfstandigheid, ‘eigen kracht’ en indien nodig ondersteuning vanuit het eigen informele netwerk. Mensen met LVB (IQ 50-69) en mensen die zwakbegaafd zijn (IQ 70-85) doen echter in toenemende mate een beroep op professionele ondersteuning, onder andere door een gebrek aan passende ondersteuning vanuit het informele netwerk. Daarom richt dit proefschrift zich zowel op de sociale netwerken van mensen met LVB, als ook op die van mensen die zwakbegaafd zijn. Vanwege de leesbaarheid gebruiken we de term LVB, waar we over het algemeen ook mensen die zwakbegaafd zijn onder verstaan. Gebaseerd op het overzicht van het onderzoek naar sociale netwerken en netwerkinterventies, concluderen we in hoofdstuk 1 dat (a) een uitgebreid en gedetailleerd beeld van de netwerken van mensen met LVB, vanuit hun eigen perspectief, ontbreekt; en (b) dat er weinig bekend is over de ervaringen van mensen met LVB en hun begeleiders met netwerkinterventies en over het effect van deze interventies. Hoofdstuk 1 eindigt met de doelen en onderzoeksvragen van het proefschrift. Het eerste doel was om een uitgebreid beeld te schetsen van de structurele en functionele netwerkkenmerken vanuit het perspectief van de mensen met LVB zelf. Het tweede doel was het verkrijgen van inzicht in netwerkinterventies en de resultaten van deze interventies. Om deze doelen te bereiken formuleerden we de volgende onderzoeksvragen. Wat zijn de specifieke kenmerken van en opvattingen over het sociale netwerk van mensen met LVB? Wat zijn de ervaringen van professionals met het versterken en uitbreiden van sociale netwerken van mensen met LVB? Wat is het resultaat van een interventie met als doel sociale netwerken van mensen met LVB te verrijken? Het proefschrift bestaat uit twee delen. Het eerste deel bestaat uit drie hoofdstukken (hoofdstuk 2, 3 en 4) en is gericht op de netwerkkenmerken vanuit het perspectief van mensen met LVB. In dit eerste deel was het onderzoek voornamelijk kwantitatief van aard. Het tweede deel (hoofdstuk 5 en 6) is gericht op netwerkinterventies. Dit onderzoek was voornamelijk kwalitatief van aard. In het eerste deel gebruikten we de Maastrichtse Sociale Netwerk Analyse (MSNA), aangepast voor mensen met LVB, om de structurele kenmerken (bijvoorbeeld bereikbaarheid, duur van de relatie, initiatief en frequentie van het contact) en de functionele kenmerken (bijvoorbeeld affectie, aansluiting, en praktische en informatieve steun) van de sociale netwerken in kaart te brengen. Hoofdstuk 2 beschrijft het onderzoek naar de sociale netwerken van 33 mensen met LVB, die zelfstandig in de samenleving woonden. Hun sociale netwerken varieerden van vier tot 28 netwerkleden (gemiddeld 14.2). Dit waren familieleden (42.7%), vriendschappelijke contacten, zoals vrienden, kennissen, buren en collega’s (32.8%) en professionals (24.5%). Opvallend was (a) het frequente contact met netwerkleden; (b) de bevinding dat deelnemers zichzelf vaak als initiatiefnemer van het contact zien; (c) de hoge scores die aan professionals werden toegekend voor functionele kenmerken; en (d) de relatief lage scores t.a.v. de aansluiting met netwerkleden. Vervolgens hebben we in hoofdstuk 3 onderzocht in welke mate mensen met LVB tevreden zijn met hun netwerk en welke wensen zij hebben ten aanzien van hun netwerk. Ook onderzochten we welke netwerkkenmerken gerelateerd zijn aan tevredenheid met het netwerk en ervaren kwaliteit van bestaan. We gebruikten hierbij een vragenlijst over tevredenheid en wensen en de Intellectual Disability Quality of Life (IDQOL). De meerderheid van de deelnemers (73.1%) was tevreden met het netwerk. Wensen lagen op het vlak van het versterken van bestaande relaties (bijvoorbeeld vaker of beter contact) en niet zozeer ten aanzien van het uitbreiden van het netwerk. Affectie – met name voor wat betreft familie en professionals – was het sterkst positief gerelateerd aan ervaren kwaliteit van bestaan. Met betrekking tot omvang was het aantal vriendschappelijke contacten belangrijk. Voor de andere kenmerken bleek het familienetwerk cruciaal. Het bleek belangrijk dat familieleden in dezelfde plaats wonen, elkaar vaak ontmoeten en emotionele en praktische steun bieden. In zowel hoofdstuk 2 als hoofdstuk 3 hebben we echter geen referentiegroep gebruikt om onze resultaten mee te vergelijken. Derhalve hebben we in hoofdstuk 4 de netwerken van mensen met LVB vergeleken met die van een referentiegroep en van mensen met een Autisme Spectrum Stoornis (ASS). De referentiegroep was qua leeftijd en geslacht vergelijkbaar met de andere groepen en bestond uit mensen zonder LVB of ASS. Doel van dit onderzoek was de overeenkomsten en verschillen in netwerkkenmerken, tevredenheid en wensen te achterhalen. Er namen naast de 33 personen met LVB, ook 42 personen van de referentiegroep en 30 personen met ASS deel. Mensen met LVB en ASS hadden in vergelijking met de referentiegroep minder mensen op hun ecogram, hetgeen laat zien dat hun netwerken beperkter zijn. Ook hadden zij minder vaak het gevoel dat het initiatief in het contact wederzijds was en waren zij minder vaak tevreden met hun netwerk. In vergelijking met beide andere groepen, waren de volgende aspecten kenmerkend voor mensen met een LVB. Mensen met LVB (a) zagen zichzelf vooral als de persoon die het meeste initiatief neemt; (b) kenden hun vriendschappelijke netwerkleden korter, zagen hen vaker en wensten beter contact met hen; en (c) wilden graag vaker contact met hun familieleden. In het tweede deel hebben we ons gericht op netwerkinterventies. We deden twee verschillende studies: een onderzoek naar de ervaringen van professionals met netwerkinterventies (hoofdstuk 5) en een interventiestudie naar een training (hoofdstuk 6). Omdat in deel 1 van het proefschrift bleek dat de rol van professionals belangrijk is, hebben we ons in hoofdstuk 5 gericht op het perspectief van professionals en hun ervaringen met interventies gericht op sociale netwerken van mensen met LVB. Uit de resultaten kwamen interventies naar voren om netwerken te versterken (bijvoorbeeld aandacht voor het onderhouden van contacten met netwerkleden) en interventies om netwerken uit te breiden (bijvoorbeeld deelname aan vrijetijdsbesteding en het werken met vrijwilligers). Er werd echter ook een groot aantal belemmerende factoren genoemd, zoals de kleine omvang van de netwerken, kenmerken van de cliënt, verschil in opvatting en het ‘tussen de wal en het schip vallen’ bij vrijetijdsbesteding. Ook bevorderende factoren werden genoemd, zoals het werken met een plan, aansluiten bij interesses, bewustwording en het bieden van maatwerk. De belemmerende factoren lieten echter zien dat het versterken en uitbreiden van de sociale netwerken in de dagelijkse praktijk lastig is. Tenslotte hebben we een interventiestudie uitgevoerd, beschreven in hoofdstuk 6, gebaseerd op de bevindingen uit hoofdstuk 5. Een interventie die aansloot bij de genoemde bevorderende factoren was ‘Die Ken Ik!’, een training aangeboden door de belangenvereniging LFB. Bovendien zijn de thema’s van deze interventie gebaseerd op Person Centered Planning, een internationaal bekende interventie met positieve resultaten voor wat betreft sociale participatie. Omdat uit ons onderzoek bleek dat het in de praktijk moeilijk is om sociale netwerken te veranderen (hoofdstuk 5), hebben we de training voor deelnemers met LVB gecombineerd met een training voor hun begeleiders en hebben we coachingsbijeenkomsten toegevoegd aan de interventie. We hebben een multiple case-analysis uitgevoerd om de resultaten van de interventie te onderzoeken. Hoewel er sprake was van kwetsbaarheid van de deelnemers en hun netwerk, waren de resultaten veelbelovend en in lijn met eerder onderzoek. Zo werden de deelnemers zich bijvoorbeeld meer bewust van zichzelf en hun netwerk, leerden ze contact te maken en om hulp te vragen en voelden zij zich zelfstandiger. Bovendien werden hun netwerken verrijkt, nam hun eenzaamheid af en participeerden zij meer in de samenleving. In zijn algemeenheid lieten de resultaten zien dat de interventie volgens eerste aanwijzingen effectief is. In hoofdstuk 7 worden de belangrijkste bevindingen uit het proefschrift samengevat en worden sterke punten en beperkingen bediscussieerd, gerelateerd aan de keuzes met betrekking tot steekproefomvang, inclusiecriteria, deelnemers, instrumenten en het type interventie. Gezien de relatief kleine steekproefomvang en de geformuleerde inclusiecriteria, kunnen de bevindingen beperkt gegeneraliseerd worden naar mensen met LVB in het algemeen en in het bijzonder naar de groep met bijkomende gedragsproblemen. De MSNA leverde echter een grote hoeveelheid informatie op over het netwerk van mensen met een LVB vanuit hun eigen perspectief. Bovendien gaf de combinatie van kwantitatieve en kwalitatieve instrumenten en het betrekken van verschillende perspectieven (namelijk vooral die van de mensen met LVB zelf, maar ook die van begeleiders en trainers) een diepgaand inzicht in de complexiteit van netwerkinterventies in de praktijk. Diverse aanbevelingen worden gedaan voor toekomstig onderzoek, zoals het herhalen van het interventie-onderzoek met meer deelnemers, het onderzoeken van netwerkinterventies bij mensen met LVB en bijkomende gedragsproblemen en het onderzoeken van interventies op het niveau van de organisatie en de samenleving. Tenslotte worden er aanbevelingen gedaan voor beleid, praktijk en opleiding van toekomstige begeleiders. Het wordt van belang geacht sociale netwerken systematisch in kaart te brengen en daarbij oog te hebben voor de kwalitatieve aspecten ervan en voor de mening van de persoon zelf. De vraag naar tevredenheid met het netwerk is van belang, maar ons onderzoek liet zien dat ook mensen die aangaven tevreden te zijn, soms erg eenzaam waren en veel netwerkwensen hadden. Het is dus van belang door te vragen naar eenzaamheid en wensen en hierbij concrete opties te noemen om beter zicht te krijgen op de behoeften van de persoon. Het proefschrift benadrukt ook de belangrijke rol die begeleiders spelen in het leven van mensen met LVB. Zowel beleidsmakers als begeleiders kunnen daar rekening mee houden wanneer er sprake is van vermindering van begeleidingsuren of vervanging. Een manier om informele netwerkleden meer te betrekken is het organiseren van supportersbijeenkomsten, waarbij netwerkleden meedenken met de persoon over het realiseren van wensen of dromen. Ook in reguliere gesprekken kunnen netwerkleden uitgenodigd worden om mee te denken. De resultaten uit het onderzoek impliceren dat het belangrijk is uit te gaan van de interesses van de persoon en mensen met dezelfde interesses met elkaar in contact te brengen. In de discussie wordt benadrukt dat informele netwerkleden en formele netwerkleden niet inwisselbaar zijn. In hun nieuwe rol betrekken begeleiders de perspectieven van cliënten én hun netwerkleden, betrekken zij deze netwerkleden, hebben zij oog voor de behoefte aan een sterker of groter netwerk en stemmen zij de mate van ondersteuning af op de wisselende behoeften van hun cliënten en hun netwerk.
... Solomon et al. [13] reported that high functioning preadolescents with ASD and neurotypical peers differ on the help, security-intimacy and trust, and closeness subscales of the Friendship Qualities Scale. For example, in addition to having fewer peer relationships and poorer friendship quality [5,14,15], adolescents with ASD have less motivation to develop friendships [5], experience less satisfaction in their relationships, and receive less emotional support from friends compared with their neurotypical peers [15,16]. Additionally, several studies have reported that nearly 50% of adolescents with ASD are often bully victims at school [17,18]. ...
Article
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Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts. Existing literature on social relationships and well-being among adolescents with ASD in Asian countries is scant. Aims: This study compared the perceptions of adolescents with ASD with those of their neurotypical peers toward their friendship quality, activity participation, and emotional well-being, and examined the relationships between friendship quality, activity participation, and emotional well-being. Methods: The study participants—101 adolescents with ASD and 101 neurotypical peers, aged 10–19 years—completed the following self-administered questionnaires: the Friendship Quality Questionnaire, the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the short-form UCLA loneliness scale. Results: Adolescents with ASD reported lower friendship quality, lower school participation, and higher levels of anxiety and loneliness compared to their neurotypical peers. Loneliness correlated negatively with friendship quality and school participation and positively with anxiety. Adolescents with ASD experienced increased levels of anxiety when low friendship quality was accompanied by greater loneliness. Conclusions and significance: These findings reveal that friendship quality, school participation, and loneliness have a considerable effect on the emotional well-being of adolescents with ASD, thus indicating the need for therapeutic interventions that address interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being.
... Items on the questionnaire also measured how much the individual likes and is interested in other people, enjoys interacting with others, and finds friendships important. The measure demonstrated high internal consistency when administered to a sample of young adults with ASD (α = 0.75; Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright 2003). Potential scores on the 35-item measure range from 0 to 145, where higher scores indicate more positive friendships. ...
Article
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A core diagnostic feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is social impairments. Although the number of students with ASD pursuing postsecondary education is growing, few institutions provide programs to help students cope with social aspects of postsecondary education. Here, we describe social support experiences of students with ASD participating in a peer mentorship program. A subset of the students (n = 23) enrolled in their first year of the Autism Mentorship Program (AMP) completed questionnaires assessing their perceived social support during their first year in the program. Development of social skills emerged as a popular goal among students and was a major topic of discussion within one-on-one meetings. Overall, students reported high satisfaction with the program and reported that the AMP helped them achieve their goals. However, students did not report increases in social support or quality of friendships assessed using standardized measures. Our results exemplify some of the challenges of improving social skills through a community-based program.
... A child with Asperger's Syndrome may have a concept of friendship that is immature and some years behind that of his or her age peers. (Attwood 2003, Baron-Cohen 2003, Frith & Happé 1999. In assessing social interaction and social reasoning skills, the teacher or educator socializes with the child. ...
... Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interactions and communication along with the presence of disturbances of repetitive stereotyped behaviors 1,2 . Eventually, difficulties with social interactions have been supposed to be the major deficits and these most severe symptoms of the disorder persist across the lifespan [3][4][5][6] . Therefore, one of the key elements of the therapeutic approaches is the development and evaluation of interventions to strengthen the social skills of the patients 6 . ...
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The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has rapidly increased in the past decades, and several studies report about the escalating use of antibiotics and the consequent disruption of the gastrointestinal microbiome leading to the development of neurobehavioral symptoms resembling to those of ASD. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether depletion of the gastrointestinal microbiome via antibiotics treatment could induce ASD-like behavioral symptoms in adulthood. To reliably evaluate that, validated valproic acid (VPA) ASD animal model was introduced. At last, we intended to demonstrate the assessed potential benefits of a probiotic mixture (PM) developed by our research team. Male Wistar rats were used to create antibiotics treated; antibiotics and PM treated; PM treated, VPA treated; VPA and PM treated; and control groups. In all investigations we focused on social behavioral disturbances. Antibiotics-induced microbiome alterations during adulthood triggered severe deficits in social behavior similar to those observed in the VPA model. Furthermore, it is highlighted that our PM proved to attenuate both the antibiotics- and the VPA-generated antisocial behavioral symptoms. The present findings underline potential capacity of our PM to improve social behavioral alterations thus, indicate its promising therapeutic power to attenuate the social-affective disturbances of ASD.
... Impairments of emotion recognition are acknowledged as prominent debilitating aspects of austism spectrum disorder (ASD) (DSM-5) [1][2][3][4][5]. Previous research has shown that individuals with ASD and intellectual disabilities (ID) have difficulty processing their own and other people's emotions [6]. ...
... This anhedonia appears to be specific to social rather than non-social situations, and the degree of social anhedonia is positively correlated with ASD severity [Carre et al., 2015]. In one data set, more than 50% of adults with ASD report having no particular friends [Howlin et al., 2013], and adults with ASD tend to experience less pleasure in close friendships when compared to typically developing controls [Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003;Chevallier, Kohls, et al., 2012]. Despite the evidence for reduced social motivation in ASD, few validated instruments capture the many behavioral manifestations of social motivation. ...
Article
Lay summary: The goal of this study was to measure behaviors that contribute to social functioning difficulties in adults with ASD, with the ultimate goal of guiding treatment development. We found that motivation to interact with others was significantly related to social anxiety and social skill. Our results suggest that motivation may be important to target in treatment, and that treatments should be tailored to the areas most in need of improvement in each individual.
... Their inability for repetitive social communication as well as their difficulty in sharing thoughts and feelings makes these individuals incapable of managing relationships and complex situations that arise when confronted with real school or community living conditions. Thus, when friendships do occur, they appear to be less close and supportive than in the general population [31,32]. In addition, Shattuck Paul T. underline that young adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to never see friends, never get called by friends, never be invited to activities and be socially isolated [33]. ...
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Gender equality is a demand in all societies and is a key goal of all of us, as well as the integration of people with disabilities and especially women. This article reports on the prevailing situation of women with disabilities in society, how to deal with them and how to eliminate their exclusion and accept them as equal citizens in society
... Tanner stages) to psychosexual functioning and to ASD (e.g. Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright 2003;Beier and Ackerman 2003;Flannery et al. 1993;Halpern et al. 1993;Mandy et al. 2012;Shandra and Chowdhury 2012;Stokes et al. 2007;Vickerstaff et al. 2007;Whitehouse et al. 2011). Therefore, it was important to assess these variables. ...
Article
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To gain further insight into psychosexual functioning, including behaviors, intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects, in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), comprehensive, multi-informant measures are needed. This study describes (1) the development of a new measure of psychosexual functioning in both parent- and self-reports (Teen Transition Inventory; TTI) covering all three domains of psychosexual functioning (i.e. psychosexual socialization, psychosexual selfhood, and sexual/intimate behavior). And (2) the initial testing of this instrument, comparing adolescents with ASD (n = 79 parent-report; n = 58 self-report) to Typically Developing (TD) adolescents (n = 131 parent-report; n = 91 self-report) while taking into account gender as a covariate. Results from both informants indicate more difficulties regarding psychosexual socialization and psychosexual selfhood in the ASD group. With regard to sexual/intimate behavior, only parents reported significantly more problems in adolescents with ASD. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3071-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Friendship. No significant interactions between sex/gender and diagnosis were found using either the Friendship Questionnaire (Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright, 2005;Head et al., 2014) or the Friendships Survey (Dean et al., 2014). Using both measures, ASC individuals were found to perform more poorly than TD individuals (see Table 2). ...
Article
Studies assessing sex/gender differences in autism spectrum conditions often fail to include typically developing control groups. It is, therefore, unclear whether observed sex/gender differences reflect those found in the general population or are particular to autism spectrum conditions. A systematic search identified articles comparing behavioural and cognitive characteristics in males and females with and without an autism spectrum condition diagnosis. A total of 13 studies were included in meta-analyses of sex/gender differences in core autism spectrum condition symptoms (social/communication impairments and restricted/repetitive behaviours and interests) and intelligence quotient. A total of 20 studies were included in a qualitative review of sex/gender differences in additional autism spectrum condition symptoms. For core traits and intelligence quotient, sex/gender differences were comparable in autism spectrum conditions and typical samples. Some additional autism spectrum condition symptoms displayed different patterns of sex/gender differences in autism spectrum conditions and typically developing groups, including measures of executive function, empathising and systemising traits, internalising and externalising problems and play behaviours. Individuals with autism spectrum conditions display typical sex/gender differences in core autism spectrum condition traits, suggesting that diagnostic criteria based on these symptoms should take into account typical sex/gender differences. However, awareness of associated autism spectrum condition symptoms should include the possibility of different male and female phenotypes, to ensure those who do not fit the ‘typical’ autism spectrum condition presentation are not missed.
... Such a development is significant, because the link between autistic traits and the quality of interpersonal relationships has been-somewhat surprisingly-studied from an individualistic perspective. For instance, a seminal study by Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright (2003) tested adults with high functioning autism/Asperger syndrome using the Friendship Questionnaire to explore the extreme male brain theory of autism. This theory predicts that 'on any test of "empathizing", unaffected males will score lower than unaffected females, and performance by individuals with an ASC will be even lower than unaffected males'. ...
Article
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Autistic traits are known to be associated with social interaction difficulties. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, relevant research has been typically restricted to studying individuals. In line with the 'dialectical misattunement hypothesis' and clinical insights of intact social interactions among autistic individuals, we hypothesized that friendship quality varies as a function of interpersonal similarity and more concretely the difference value of autistic traits in a dyad, above and beyond autistic traits per se. Therefore, in this study, we used self-report questionnaires to investigate these measures in a sample of 67 neurotypical dyads across a broad range of autistic traits. Our results demonstrate that the more similar two persons are in autistic traits, the higher is the perceived quality of their friendship, irrespective of friendship duration, age, sex and, importantly, the (average of) autistic traits in a given dyad. More specifically, higher interpersonal similarity of autistic traits was associated with higher measures of closeness, acceptance and help. These results, therefore, lend support to the idea of an interactive turn in the study of social abilities across the autism spectrum and pave the way for future studies on the multiscale dynamics of social interactions.
... My initial research proposal planned to investigate social rank processes, via measures of social comparison and submissive behaviour . In addition, I planned to measure social anxiety using the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN, Connor et al., 2000) and Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE, , and attitudes towards friendships using the Friendship Questionnaire (FQ; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003). However, whilst planning data collection, it became clear we were asking participants to complete a considerably high number of tasks and measures. ...
Conference Paper
This thesis seeks to understand why women with Autism Spectrum Disorder (‘autism’) are more likely to develop restrictive eating disorders (‘REDs’). Part 1 is a conceptual introduction exploring the wider topic. To start, I introduce key terms and explore current understanding of autism among females, including the notion of ‘social camouflaging’; the masking of autistic traits and imitation of social behaviours, common among autistic women. Next, I discuss issues around prevalence and diagnosis of autism among those with REDs and the experience of eating disorder treatment for autistic individuals. Finally, a comprehensive review of the literature, outlining the multiple factors which might increase the likelihood of autistic women developing REDs, is presented. Part 2 documents an empirical study investigating the specific role of social risk factors for autistic women with REDs. It is hypothesised that difficulties gaining acceptance from others increases the likelihood of autistic women to perceive themselves as inferior. Moreover, that autistic women who attempt to ‘fit in’ through social camouflaging, are more vulnerable to such risk factors. Two groups of autistic women, with and without REDs, are compared on measures of social comparison, submissive behaviour, fear of negative evaluation and social camouflaging. Autistic women with REDs are found to compare themselves as significantly more inferior than autistic women without REDs. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed. Part 3 of the thesis is a critical appraisal which describes personal reflections on the research process, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and suggestions for future research.
... Consistently, a recent model of ASD focused on the concept of "social motivation" and proposed that the core problems of ASD may be explained by extremely diminished social motivation [44]. According to previous surveys, half of the adults with ASD report having no particular friends [45] and score significantly lower on items in the friendship questionnaire that concern attitudes toward interpersonal relationships, such as pleasure in close friendship and interest in people [46]. Therefore, the functional alteration in the anterior section of the left anterior insula may provide a neurological basis for the lack of group-oriented emotion and behavior in ASD. ...
Article
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Background The insular cortex comprises multiple functionally differentiated sub-regions, each of which has different patterns of connectivity with other brain regions. Such diverse connectivity patterns are thought to underlie a wide range of insular functions, including cognitive, affective, and sensorimotor processing, many of which are abnormal in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although past neuroimaging studies of ASD have shown structural and functional abnormalities in the insula, possible alterations in the sub-regional organization of the insula and the functional characteristics of each sub-region have not been examined in the ASD brain. Methods Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data were acquired from 36 adult males with ASD and 38 matched typically developed (TD) controls. A data-driven clustering analysis was applied to rs-fMRI data of voxels in the left and right insula to automatically group voxels with similar intrinsic connectivity pattern into a cluster. After determining the optimal number of clusters based on information theoretic measures of variation of information and mutual information, functional parcellation patterns in both the left and the right insula were compared between the TD and ASD groups. Furthermore, functional profiles of each sub-region were meta-analytically decoded using Neurosynth and were compared between the groups. ResultsWe observed notable alterations in the anterior sector of the left insula and the middle ventral sub-region of the right insula in the ASD brain. Meta-analytic decoding revealed that whereas the anterior sector of the left insula contained two functionally differentiated sub-regions for cognitive, sensorimotor, and emotional/affective functions in TD brain, only a single functional cluster for cognitive and sensorimotor functions was identified in the anterior sector in the ASD brain. In the right insula, the middle ventral sub-region, which is primarily specialized for sensory- and auditory-related functions, showed a significant volumetric increase in the ASD brain compared with the TD brain. Conclusions The results indicate an altered organization of sub-regions in specific parts of the left and right insula of the ASD brain. The alterations in the left and right insula may constitute neural substrates underlying abnormalities in emotional/affective and sensory functions in ASD.
... Friendships that YAs with ASD forge may also be less positive than those among TD adults. Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright (2003) found that individuals with ASD had friendships that were less close, empathetic, supportive, and important than those of TD individuals. Loneliness among individuals with ASD may be moderated by symptoms of anxiety. ...
Article
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Young adults with ASD experience difficulties with social skills, empathy, loneliness, and social anxiety. One intervention, PEERS® for Young Adults, shows promise in addressing these challenges. The present study replicated and extended the original study by recruiting a larger sample (N = 56), employing a gold standard ASD assessment tool, and examining changes in social anxiety utilizing a randomized controlled trial design. Results indicated improvements in social responsiveness (SSIS-RS SS, p = .006 and CPB, p = .005; SRS, p = .004), PEERS® knowledge (TYASSK, p = .001), empathy (EQ, p = .044), direct interactions (QSQ-YA, p = .059), and social anxiety (LSAS-SR, p = .019). Findings demonstrate further empirical support for the intervention for individuals with ASD.
... While broader ASD literature has clearly demonstrated that the social and emotional deficits typical to the disorder often see that individuals of both sexes lack the critical skills necessary to establish peer interactions and friendships through childhood (Bauminger et al. 2008;Chan and John 2012;Orsmund et al. 2014); a small series of empirical studies are suggesting that the extent to which these deficits manifest themselves may also be dependent on sex. Using Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright (2003) Friendship Questionnaire (FQ), both the original authors and Head et al. (2014)'s recent research have all observed not only higher levels of sociability and more advanced friendship skills in HFA females but similar understandings and experiences of key friendship characteristics between females with HFA and TD males. These findings are in line with Attwood's (2007) and Nichols ' (2009) clinical observations of which have cited comparative levels of social knowledge and communication in HFA female when compared to TD male groups. ...
Article
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Preliminary research examining sexuality within High-Functioning Autism (HFA) has been yet to consider the impact sex may have on the sexual/romantic functioning of this population. A systematic database search was carried out to identify 27 observational and cross-sectional publications meeting predetermined inclusion criteria. Using standardised mean differences, a random-effects meta-analysis pooled data from 9 eligible studies. Exhibiting higher levels of sexual understanding, females with HFA were subject to more adverse sexual experiences than males with HFA and neurotypical counterparts. Males reported greater desire for, and engagement in both solitary and dyadic sexual contact. Findings have provided initial insight into characterising the sexuality of males and females with HFA, yet also necessitated the need for future research in the field.
... school/home; first/second hand), interview schedules were adjusted to accommodate this. To inform the interview questions, Calder et al.'s (2013) semi-structured interview schedule and Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright's (2003) 'Friendship Questionnaire' were used. To minimise the risk of distress (particularly among the students), questions were positively phrased and open-ended (e.g. ...
Article
Establishing and maintaining friendships is frequently challenging for young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). However, few studies have explored influences on friendship development, meaning that knowledge of friendship formation processes remains limited at a critical point in social development. As friendship can impact on well-being and the success of educational inclusion, addressing this issue is important and timely. This study explores friendship among adolescents with ASC, and in particular the meaning and nature of friendship, including perceived influences on its development. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants: three adolescent students with ASC, a parent of each student, and key teachers. Students were found to have an understanding of friendship, although parents often felt it was theoretical and did not correlate with their own experiences. All of the students expressed a desire for friendship and reported having experienced loneliness. Friendships tended to centre on structured activities such as computer games, which provided both support and obstacles for friendship development. Further individual and contextual influences included levels of maturity, understanding of social rules, school environment, and peer acceptance. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to research and practice in educational settings.
... and fewer close friendships(Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003;Liptak et al., 2011), thus, they could be less affected by the social changes caused by the pandemic. Indeed, given the social communication and interaction difficulties for autistic people (American Psychiatric, for some, reductions in social pressures could lead to mental health improvements. ...
Conference Paper
This thesis investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on autistic people. Focusing specifically on the mental health impact of the pandemic, access to service support and experiences of telehealth delivery. Part One: Scoping Review. The literature review examined the research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic relating to telehealth delivery of health and social care to autistic people. Following a rigorous systematic search of databases, 28 sources of published and grey literature were included. Sources were synthesised into two themes pertaining to the nature of the shift to telehealth and its effects of autistic people and services evaluated during the pandemic. Results revealed that large disruptions had been felt across services and experiences of telehealth support were variable. Some areas of progression in the evidence-based are identified, alongside key areas warranting future research. Part Two: Empirical Study. The empirical study sought to gain a deeper understanding of any changes in the mental health of autistic adults over the COVID-19 pandemic and the nature of support services available. Using an online survey, qualitative and quantitative data were gathered from 133 autistic adults in the United Kingdom about their experiences of the pandemic in relation to their mental health. Results revealed the mental health impact had been variable. While a sizeable minority experienced mental health improvements, most participants described an overall decline in their mental health. Based on findings, recommendations are outlined for how autistic people can be supported as the pandemic persists and once normality returns. Part three: Critical Appraisal. The critical appraisal provides professional and personal reflections on completing the thesis. Considerations are given to the impact of the pandemic, undertaking the analysis and wider limitations.
... Although sex-gender differences in friendship had been observed in many cultures and settings [48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56], the first comprehensive global study took place only less than a decade ago [57]. This study of ~112,000 Facebook profile pictures showed a striking gender difference in both the propensity to create dyadic connections, and the affinity towards large groups, a phenomenon that held across all global regions. ...
Preprint
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One of the most contested questions about human behaviour is whether there are inherent sex or gender differences in the formation and maintenance of social bonds. On one hand, female and male brains are structurally almost identical, and while there are sex differences in the endocrine system, these are small, while much of gendered identity and behaviour is learned. On the other hand, sex differences in some aspects of social behaviour have deep evolutionary roots, and are widely present in non-human animals. This observational study recorded the frequency of same-aged, adult human groups appearing in public spaces through 2636 hours, recording group formation by 1.2mn people via 170 research assistants in 46 countries across the world. The results show (a) a significant sex-gender difference in same-sex-same-age frequency, in that ~50% more female-female than male-male pairs are observed in public spaces globally, and (b) that despite regional variation, the patterns holds up in every global region. This is the first study of sex-gender difference in dyadic social behaviour across the world on this scale, and the first global study that uses direct rather than internet-based observations.
Article
Establishing and maintaining friendships is frequently challenging for young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). However, few studies have explored influences on friendship development, meaning that knowledge of friendship formation processes remains limited at a critical point in social development. As friendship can impact on well-being and the success of educational inclusion, addressing this issue is important and timely. This study explores friendship among adolescents with ASC, and in particular the meaning and nature of friendship, including perceived influences on its development. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants: three adolescent students with ASC, a parent of each student, and key teachers. Students were found to have an understanding of friendship, although parents often felt it was theoretical and did not correlate with their own experiences. All of the students expressed a desire for friendship and reported having experienced loneliness. Friendships tended to centre on structured activities such as computer games, which provided both support and obstacles for friendship development. Further individual and contextual influences included levels of maturity, understanding of social rules, school environment, and peer acceptance. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to research and practice in educational settings.
Article
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'Low-level' support is championed to support adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) to achieve good quality health and social care, yet research in the area is sparse. Drawing on semi-structured interview data, this paper considers the efficacy of an intervention to provide low-level support to adults with HFASD with little or no funded support. The intervention led to a number of perceived positive outcomes for adults with HFASD, their families, and service providers in the city, including increased access to education, volunteering, support and information, socialising, improved health and wellbeing, and managing day-to-day. Although many of life's difficulties still persisted, the intervention helped service users overcome barriers to availing further support, possibly leading to beneficial outcomes down the line.
Article
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We tested for the replicability of studies that show differences between the perspective taking responses of children with autism, Down syndrome, and those who are typically developing. We also evaluated the results of modified False Beliefs Tests, and the effects that different prompts had on the performance of the participants. Finally, we analyzed the potential differences in perspective taking repertoires of the participants in relation to other behaviors that might be related or that might be prerequisites for the development of functional equivalent relations. The participants were 15 children between the ages of 4 and 6. Five were typically developing, five were diagnosed with Down syndrome, and five had been diagnosed with autism. The results are discussed in terms of their similarity to previous findings, how existing deficits cannot be linked to a specific disability, and the possible identification of prerequisite skills, as well as procedures that might possibly assist in the acquisition of these repertoires.
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Experimental studies suggest that high-functioning females with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) outperform males with ASDs on social skills. High-functioning females with ASDs also seem to be more socially motivated than males and they display significantly less repetitive and stereotype behavior than males. Age seems to play an important role, as younger children with ASD are more alike behaviourally than older children and adolescents. In some studies no gender differences have been found, or females with ASDs have had even more problems socially than matched males with ASDs. IQ and verbal abilities play a significant role; many of the participants in the latter studies were intellectually disabled. However, at the upper end of the autism spectrum many high-functioning females with ASDs seem to camouflage their social difficulties and many remain unidentified.
Thesis
Die Daten der vorliegenden Studie wurden im Rahmen einer klinischen Studie mit 23 Erwachsenen mit einer hochfunktionalen Autismus-Spektrum-Störung sowie 22 Erwachsenen mit neurotypischer Entwicklung erhoben. Bei allen Teilnehmern wurden vier Testungen zu schneller sozialer Kognition durchgeführt, die mittels kurzer Darbietungszeiten die Emotionserkennung in der visuellen und der auditiven Modalität sowie das korrekte Interpretieren sozialer Szenen überprüfen. Zudem wurden psychometrische Tests zum Feststellen autistischer und alexithymischer Merkmale sowie ein Intelligenzquotient erhoben. Die Arbeitshypothese, dass Personen mit ASS Emotionen und soziale Szenen seltener korrekt interpretieren können als neurotypisch Entwickelte und diese Unterschiede stärker zum Tragen kommen, wenn Personen mit ASS durch kurze Darbietungszeiten auf das implizite Prozessieren sozialer Stimuli angewiesen sind, konnte nur teilweise bestätigt werden. Zwar zeigen sich bei allen Emotionserkennungstests Mittelwerttendenzen hinsichtlich einer niedrigeren Exaktheit der Emotionserkennungsleistung bei Personen mit ASS, allerdings weisen die Ergebnisse insgesamt keine statistische Signifikanz auf. Bilder mit sozialen Szenen wurden von Personen mit ASS im Gesamteindruck signifikant schlechter beschrieben und ihnen seltener der korrekte Bildkommentar zugeordnet. Entgegen der Hypothese, dass Menschen mit ASS bei der Emotionserkennung eine niedrigere Verarbeitungsgeschwindigkeit aufweisen, zeigten sie in allen Emotionserkennungstest Tendenzen zu kürzeren Reaktionszeiten als neurotypisch Entwickelte, was am ehesten auf das Phänomen des „speed-accuracy tradeoff“ zurückzuführen ist und die Bewertung der Ergebnislage erschwert. Angesichts der bisher sehr inkonsistenten bis widersprüchlichen Forschungslage bezüglich sozialer Kognition bei ASS, die auch in der vorgestellten Studie zu Tage tritt, scheint die weitere intensive Erforschung dieses Gebiets von großer Bedeutung zu sein. Die zukünftige Forschung ist auch hinsichtlich der Tatsache unerlässlich, dass Menschen mit ASS zwar offensichtlich erfolgreiche Kompensationsstrategien entwickeln, um soziale Stimuli im Rahmen von wissenschaftlichen Versuchen korrekt interpretieren zu können, konfrontiert mit den Anforderungen des sozialen Alltags jedoch zumeist daran scheitern. Die Theorie der schnellen sozialen Kognition, im Sinne eines zweistufigen Systems, scheint hierbei weiterhin vielversprechend. Auch wenn kein eindeutiger Nutzen der vorgestellten Untersuchungsinstrumente in der vorliegenden Studie festgestellt werden konnte, könnten sie durchaus zum Zwecke weiterer Forschung ihre Berechtigung finden und mit dem Ziel einer schärferen Gruppentrennung weiterentwickelt werden.
Article
The present study aimed to compare the characteristics of empathy as scaffolding for constructing friendships. Participants were 24 high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and, for comparison, 24 typically developing children (TYP). The children were matched on age (7-11 years) and gender (each group included 6 girls). The empathic responses that were analyzed included Parallel Empathy (P-E), which refers to reproduction of another person's feelings, and Reactive Empathy (R-E), which refers to one's emotional reaction to another person's feelings. The children's empathic response to their closest friend was measured with the Affective Situation Test (AST). The children with autism spectrum disorders achieved the same level of Parallel Empathy scores as the typically developing children; however, the Reactive Empathy scores of more than a third of the children with autism spectrum disorders were noticeably lower than those of the typically developing children. This suggests that a weakness in Reactive Empathy in children with autism spectrum disorders may be an important factor in the difficulty that they have in constructing reciprocal relationships with friends.
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Loneliness is perceived as social isolation and exclusion. The neural substrate of loneliness has been investigated with functional neuroimaging; however, lesion-based studies and their associated outcomes are needed to infer causal involvement between brain regions and function. Here, we applied voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) analyses to investigate the causal role of brain lesions on self-report of loneliness (UCLA Loneliness Scale) in a unique sample from the Vietnam Head Injury Study, including veterans with penetrating traumatic brain injuries (pTBI) (n = 132) and healthy controls (HCs) (n = 35). Our results revealed that the right anterior insula (AI) and right prefrontal cortex (PFC) are key brain regions underpinning loneliness perception. Individuals with selective lesions to the right AI and right PFC were less likely to report loneliness compared to patients with selective lesions to the posterior cortex and HCs. Therefore, it appears that lesions to key regions involved in processing social pain act to lower the perception of loneliness. Reporting loneliness was associated with executive dysfunction, apathy, disinhibition, and lower life satisfaction. In conclusion, the reported findings broaden our understanding of how loneliness is processed in the social brain, and how behavioral and cognitive factors can influence this perception.
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Background: Evidence increasingly suggests that ASD manifests differently in females than males. Previous reviews investigating sex/gender differences in social interaction and social communication have focused at the level of broad constructs (e.g. comparing algorithm scores from pre-existing diagnostic instruments) and have typically reported no significant differences between males and females. However, a number of individual studies have found sex/gender differences in narrow construct domains. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and random effects model meta-analyses (in January 2019 and updated January 2020) that investigated sex/gender differences in narrow construct measures of social communication and interaction in autistic and nonautistic children and adolescents, and adults. Study quality was appraised using the Appraisal Tool for Cross-Sectional Studies (AXIS, BMJ Open, 6, 2016, 1). Results: Across 16 studies (including 2,730 participants), the analysis found that female (vs. male) individuals with ASD had significantly better social interaction and social communication skills (SMD = 0.39, p < .001), which was reflective of a similar sex/gender profile in nonautistic individuals (SMD = 0.35, p < .001). Nonautistic males had significantly better social interaction and communication than males with ASD (SMD = 0.77, p < .001). Nonautistic females also had significantly better social interaction and communication than females with ASD (SMD = 0.72, p <.001). Nonautistic males had better social interaction and communication than females with ASD, though this difference was not significant (SMD = 0.30, p = .07). Conclusions: This systematic review and meta-analysis highlighted important sex/gender differences in social interaction and communication for individuals with ASD, likely not captured by pre-existing diagnostic instruments, which potentially contribute to the under recognition of autism in females, and may need to be reflected in the diagnostic process.
Thesis
Research indicates that autistic individuals are no more likely to offend than anyone else in the general population. However, it has been suggested that when autistic individuals do offend, their offending behaviour can be contextualised by their autism. One of the most common forms of offending reported to be committed by autistic individuals are sexual offences, and research has outlined how autism can contribute to those offences. Additionally, recent research has also indicated that autistic prisoners may experience unique challenges and have specific support needs during their prison sentences, which potentially differ from their non-autistic peers. Despite this, little research has specifically explored how to work with, support and manage autistic individuals with sexual offence convictions (ISOCs) in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending. This thesis details an exploratory sequential mixed method approach used to explore effective work practices with autistic ISOCs in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending. Specifically, this thesis explored the following research questions; 'How appropriate are current prison-based sexual offending interventions for autistic ISOCs?' And 'What is best practice when working with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions?'. To answer these research questions, the thesis sought to: (i) identify challenges associated with prison-based sexual offending interventions for autistic ISOCs; (ii) identify beneficial features of prison-based sexual interventions for autistic ISOCs; and (iii) to generate evidence-based, practical recommendations on how to work with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions. This thesis is constructed of six chapters. Chapter 1 provides a broad introduction to the topic background and rationale of the thesis, concluding with the overarching research questions and aims. Chapter 2 provides a discussion of the methodological issues that were relevant to the empirical studies of the thesis, including a rationale for the mixed method design. Chapter 3 reports Study 1, which was a qualitative narrative exploration of the life stories of autistic ISOCs (N= 4). This study incorporated an inclusive, participatory autism research approach, and discusses how diversity and similarities in those life stories may be relevant for interventions. Chapter 4 reports Study 2, a multi-perspective qualitative study that utilised a phenomenologically informed thematic analysis to explore the issues surrounding working with autistic ISOCS in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending, from the perspectives of autistic ISOCs (N= 12) and staff (N= 13). Chapter 5 details Study 3, a quantitative study that sought to confirm qualitative findings reported in Chapter 4; relating to the relationships between autistic traits, the prison social climate, mental wellbeing and readiness to 6 engage with interventions in a sample of ISOCs serving prison sentences (N= 177). Finally, Chapter 6 provides a synthesis and general discussion of the collective findings from the empirical studies. Chapter 6 also details practical recommendations for working with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions, directions for future research, highlights the original contributions of the thesis, considers broader limitations of the research, and offers a final conclusion.
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Friendship is the vital and most beautiful part of every individual‘s life; it comforts individual with support and feeling of belongings which in turns alleviate her/is mood, gives a feeling of attachment and aliveness. This research was carried out to be aware of how friendship quality ameliorates subjective vitality. Friendship quality is regulated on the basis of integrity, caring and congeniality. Subjective vitality is the feeling of aliveness and alertness. The sample consisted of 100 female adults who were engaged in there under graduation and post-graduation. The scales used for conducting this research are: Friendship Quality Scale (Thien, Abd Razak, & Jamil, 2012) and Subjective Vitality Scale (Ryan & Frederick, 1997). Responses were recorded from the population.The research design was correlational research design and the statistical analysis was done using correlation. The outcome reveals that: friendship quality and subjective vitality are positively correlated with each other. Keywords: Friendship quality and subjective vitality
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The core symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) consist in the presence of difficulties in social communication, flexibility and imagination, in addition to presenting comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders and medical pathologies. This characteristic symptomatology of autism has repercussions on learning environments, which must adapt to them and become inclusive and pleasant environments. This chapter analyzes the social-emotional symptoms of ASD, their direct repercussions on the learning style of these students and their influence on educational environments. Regarding social communication, the socioemotional style and communication characteristics are analyzed in order to understand the need of specific programs for socioemotional development and specific training for professionals. From this perspective, the need to structure environments and activities , reduce and adjust the number and intensity of stimuli or implement emotional stimulation activities, among others, is explained.
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between social cognition and academic well-being through the mediating roles of social achievement goals and academic and social positive emotions. The statistical population consisted of all Shiraz University undergraduate students, from which 566 (278 boy and 288 girl) students were selected through the random multi-stage cluster sampling method. The research instruments included the Social Cognition Questionnaire (Nejati, & et al., 2019), Social Achievement Goals Scale (Ryan, & Shim, 2009), Academic Hope Scale (Khormaee, & Kamari, 2017), Admiration Scale (Schindler, & et al., 2013), Academic Engagement Inventory (AEI) (Salmela-Aro, & Upadyaya, 2012), and Academic Burnout Inventory (ABI) (Salmela-Aro, & et al., 2009). Data were analyzed by structural equation modeling. The findings showed that social cognition had an indirect and positive effect on academic hope and admiration through the mediating role of the social development goal. Social development goal had an indirect and positive effect on academic engagement and an indirect and negative effect on academic burnout through the mediating role of positive emotions of academic hope and admiration. Furthermore, the social demonstration- approach goal had an indirect and negative effect on academic engagement through the mediating role of admiration social emotion. According to these results, social cognition, with the increase of social development goal, increased the positive emotions of academic hope and admiration, and in this way, affected academic well-being (academic engagement and academic burnout). It can be concluded that in the domain of academic well-being, some variables like social cognition, social achievement goals, and academic and social positive emotions can play important roles. Keywords Social Achievement Goals Academic Well-Being Academic and Social Positive Emotions Social Cognition
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There is increased recognition that women and girls with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are underserved by the clinical criteria and processes required to receive a diagnosis. This mixed-methods systematic review aimed to identify key barriers to obtaining an ASD diagnosis in girls and young women under 21 years. Six themes were identified that focused on perceived gendered symptoms, namely behavioural problems, social and communication abilities, language, relationships, additional diagnoses/difficulties and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. Five themes were identified as (parental) perceived barriers to diagnosis, namely compensatory behaviours, parental concerns, others' perceptions, lack of information/resources and clinician bias. This review highlights the importance of enhancing widespread understanding and recognition of ASD presentation in females across development. PROSPERO Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (ID 2018 CRD42018087235). Supplementary information: The online version of this article (10.1007/s40489-020-00225-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Abstract Introduction: The aim of this study was construction and examine the psychometric characteristics of student social cognition questionnaire (SHAD). Method: This study from the perspective of the purpose and method of collecting information, was a part of correlational research based on psychometric analysis. For this purpose, a researcher-made questionnaire with 19 items was conducted on 735 girl and boy students by random multi-stage cluster sampling in universities of Sharif, Tarbiat Modares, Elmo Sanaat, Shahid Beheshti and Khaje-Nasir. For analysis of data, the exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were used. Results: The results of exploratory factor analysis by principal components method with varimax rotation indicated the existence of 4 component social cognition that were named respectively cognition of self, mindreading, detection of educational threat and understanding of educational environment. These four component explained 49/63 percent of the total variance. Also, the results of confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the four factors of the questionnaire. On the other hand, the results of the correlation coefficient provided evidence of the convergent validity of the social cognition questionnaire with other cognitive variables in this domain. The reliability of the questionnaire was also measured by Cronbach's alpha coefficient and the correlation of the subscales with the total score of the questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha for subscale cognition of self (0/73), mindreading (0/72), detection of educational threat (0/71), understanding of educational environment (0/74) and Cronbach's alpha coefficient of the total questionnaire was (0/86). Conclusion: Generally, the results showed that social cognition questionnaire had an appropriate reliability and validity and it can be used as a useful tool to assess student’s social cognition. Key word: Social cognition, Cognition of self, Mindreading, Detection of educational threat, Understanding of educational environment.
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between social cognition and academic well-being through the mediating roles of social achievement goals and academic and social positive emotions. The statistical population consisted of all Shiraz University undergraduate students, from which 566 (278 boy and 288 girl) students were selected through the random multi-stage cluster sampling method. The research instruments included the Social Cognition Questionnaire (Nejati, & et al., 2019), Social Achievement Goals Scale (Ryan, & Shim, 2009), Academic Hope Scale (Khormaee, & Kamari, 2017), Admiration Scale (Schindler, & et al., 2013), Academic Engagement Inventory (AEI) (Salmela-Aro, & Upadyaya, 2012), and Academic Burnout Inventory (ABI) (Salmela-Aro, & et al., 2009). Data were analyzed by structural equation modeling. The findings showed that social cognition had an indirect and positive effect on academic hope and admiration through the mediating role of the social development goal. Social development goal had an indirect and positive effect on academic engagement and an indirect and negative effect on academic burnout through the mediating role of positive emotions of academic hope and admiration. Furthermore, the social demonstration- approach goal had an indirect and negative effect on academic engagement through the mediating role of admiration social emotion. According to these results, social cognition, with the increase of social development goal, increased the positive emotions of academic hope and admiration, and in this way, affected academic well-being (academic engagement and academic burnout). It can be concluded that in the domain of academic well-being, some variables like social cognition, social achievement goals, and academic and social positive emotions can play important roles.
Conference Paper
This paper is intended to outline the PhD research that is aimed to model empathy in embodied conversational systems. Our goal is to determine the requirements for implementation of an empathic interactive agent and develop evaluation methods that is aligned with the empathy research from various fields. The thesis is composed of three scientific contributions: (i) developing a computational model of empathy, (ii) implementation of the model in embodied conversational agents and (iii) enhance the understanding of empathy in interaction by generating data and build evaluation tools. The paper will give results for the contribution (i) and preliminary results for contribution (ii). Moreover, we will present the future plan for contribution (ii) and (iii).
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Empathy is a person's ability to recognize and understand the emotions, thoughts and attitudes of others. One of the things that affect one's empathy is addiction to online games. This study aims to determine whether the level of online gaming addiction will reduce empathy in students. The research subjects were 120 students of the Faculty of Science and Technology of UIN Suska Riau, obtained using purposive sampling. The instrument in this study is the online game addiction scale which is a modification of the Chen and Chang scale and the result of the adaptation and modification of the empathy scale of the Davis scale. Pearson correlation analysis results obtained there is a negative relationship between online game addiction with empathy for students means that the higher the duration of a person's time playing online games, the less the level of one's empathy. Keywords: Empathy, Addiction to online games
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Background: The Friendship Questionnaire (FQ) is a widely used measure of friendships in autism research and beyond. This study sought to revisit the original paper where the measure was presented, using a larger sample of both autistic and non-autistic participants to examine gender differences in scoring. It also sought to expand upon the original paper by comparing FQ results to those of the Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale (URCS), to examine whether there are differences in how autistic people report on their general friendships in contrast to their most significant relationships. Methods: Participants were recruited for an online study, and 949 people (532 autistic, 417 non-autistic) aged between 18 and 81 took part. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Autism Quotient-28, the Friendship Questionnaire, and the Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale. Results: We used robust regressions and Pearson's correlational analyses, conducted in R. Autistic people scored lower than non-autistic people on the FQ, and similar gender differences in the pattern of FQ scores were seen in both groups. There was a significant negative correlation between AQ and FQ scores in both groups. On the URCS, we took the data from those who rated specific close relationships and found that autistic people scored this relationship more highly than non-autistic adults did. There was a significant negative correlation between AQ and URCS scores in both groups. Also, in both groups, there was a significant positive correlation between FQ and URCS scores. Limitations: The data is entirely self-report, and diagnoses could not be verified with a clinician, although AQ scores support self-identification as autistic. Also, the groups were not evenly matched on age and other demographic variables, although this was controlled for in analyses. It is also the case that more autistic than non-autistic people were unable to specify a close relationship to score on the URCS, meaning that a certain set of experiences are not represented in this data. Conclusions: We conclude that our data replicates the core finding of the original FQ paper that autistic people score lower on the FQ. In contrast to that paper, however, we found that there were gender differences among the autistic population. Also, our inclusion of the URCS suggests that the intimate romantic relationships and best-friendships of autistic people can be of similar quality to those of non-autistic people, suggesting that there may be important differences in autistic people's relations with friends in general versus close friends and romantic partners.
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Background: Children with English as an additional language (EAL) represent 20.6% of children in English primary schools (DfE, 2018). EAL pupils are at risk of underperforming academically unless their English proficiency is on a par with their monolingual peers. Thus, EAL children with low English proficiency require appropriate assessment to distinguish between difficulties due to underlying language impairments (such as developmental language disorder, DLD) or those due to lack of exposure of English. While a lack of English exposure could be overcome in the school context without targeted interventions, those with an undiagnosed impairment require early identification and appropriate support. However, no standardised language assessment for EAL pupils and preschoolers exist in the UK. Aims: We investigated which methods of language assessment are being used by an array of practitioners who work with EAL children in the UK, including speech and language therapists, teachers and health workers. We additionally asked about practitioners’ attitudes regarding the availability and adequacy of existing means of language assessments for bilinguals. Methods: A 71-item questionnaire, including open questions, multiple choice questions and Likert scales, was administered between June 2017 and October 2018. Questions concerned the assessment tools practitioners used (primarily for language but also regarding other aspects of behaviour and cognition), their opinions of those tools, satisfaction levels regarding EAL children’s assessment and barriers faced which might hinder satisfactory assessment. In total, 161 practitioners working with children speaking 75 different languages gave comprehensive responses to the questionnaire. Results: Practitioners do not have confidence in the tools currently available to assess the language needs of bilingual children. As no standard assessments exists in the UK to identify the language needs of EALs, the majority of practitioners rely on informal measures, such as parental reports, observations and information gleaned from other professionals. Assessments standardised on monolingual children are less frequently used, but when they are, the most popular are spoken language assessments such as the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) and the British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS). Additionally, assessment of bilinguals is often carried out with the aid of interpreters, who are typically untrained in the requirements of speech and language therapy; thus, practitioners are overall dissatisfied with the availability of appropriately trained interpreters. The most common means suggested by respondents to overcoming barriers to assessment of EAL children was greater availability of standardised tests in the appropriate languages. Conclusions: The predominant use of informal measures and assessments standardised on monolingual children can lead to children with EAL being over- or under-diagnosed with language impairments. Recommendations for training and best practice are discussed.
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Computational modeling of empathy has recently become an increasingly popular way of studying human relations. It provides a way to increase our understanding of the link between affective and cognitive processes and enhance our interaction with artificial agents. However, the variety of fields contributing to empathy research has resulted in isolated approaches to modeling empathy, and this has led to various definitions of empathy and an absence of common ground regarding underlying empathic processes. Although this diversity may be useful in that it allows for an in-depth examination of various processes linked to empathy, it also may not yet provide a coherent theoretical picture of empathy. We argue that a clear theoretical positioning is required for collective progress. The aim of this article is, therefore, to call for a holistic and multilayered view of a model of empathy, taken from the rich background research from various disciplines. To achieve this, we present a comprehensive background on the theoretical foundations, followed by the working definitions, components, and models of empathy that are proposed by various fields. Following this introduction, we provide a detailed review of the existing techniques used in AI research to model empathy in interactive agents, focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. We conclude with a discussion of future directions in this emerging field.
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Purpose of Review This review aimed to examine contemporary findings on sex-related differences in autism spectrum disorder from pre-school to adulthood. By exploring the literature within developmental time points, it is possible to consider emerging lifespan patterns and determine consistency of results without the impact of developmental change. Recent Findings Findings continue to be varied due to numerous methodological differences across studies. However, some results are more consistent than others. For instance, while there is no evidence for a sex difference in cognition in early childhood, there may be executive functioning differences in adolescence/adulthood. Further males exhibit more and different restricted repetitive behaviours, while females have more motivation toward friendships and compensatory behaviours. Summary The results reviewed provide emerging evidence for a female behaviour phenotype of ASD. However, future research should include a non-autistic comparison sample and consider the impact of sample characterisation (e.g. age range and genotype).
Article
Communicative and social-adaptive profile in children with autism spectrum disorder: a new approach based on the DSM-5 criteria Introduction. Following the adoption of the new international diagnosis classification from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been established as a dimensional category that includes other disorders that were previously considered as separate entities. Previous research has shown that some people with this disorder exhibit different communicative and linguistic profiles. Therefore, contradictory results could be found among people who receive the same diagnosis. Aim. To distinguish structural language aspects (expression and comprehension), interactive aspects (pragmatics), and social adaptation between children with an ASD-level 1 of support and children with typical development. Subjects and methods. Seventeen children with Asperger syndrome (according to the DSM-IV-TR), and 20 children with typical development between 7 and 12 years old. We have equated diagnosis of Asperger syndrome with ASD-level 1 of support. We have evaluated intelligence quotient, communication, and social adaptation with direct and indirect standardized parental scales. Results. We have found significant differences in comprehension (p = 0.025), interaction (p = 0.001), and social adaptation (p = 0.001) between the two groups. Conclusions. Subjects with ASD-level 1 of support demonstrate an average intelligence quotient, and good expressive structure (syntax and semantic level), which may be different from other children who receive the same diagnosis, due to the wide heterogeneity of the disorder. Nevertheless, our subjects have problems related to comprehension of grammar structure, pragmatics, and social adaptation. These difficulties could be related to emotional and social problems. Key words. Autism spectrum disorder. Directed and parental assessment. Interaction. Pragmatics. Social adjustment. Structural language.
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Acknowledgements: SBC, JH, and RG were supported by the MRC during the period of this work. SW was supported by the McDonnell-Pew Trust. JL was supported by the Isaac Newton Trust. We are also grateful for support from the Shirley Foundation. Parts of this paper are reprinted from (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Scahill, Lawson & Spong, in press).
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Two cognitive anomalies have been found in autism: a superiority on the Embedded Figures Task and a deficit in "theory of mind." Using adult-level versions of these tasks, the present study investigated if parents of children with Asperger Syndrome might show a mild variant of these anomalies, as might be predicted from a genetic hypothesis. Significant differences were found on both measures. Parents were significantly faster than controls on the Embedded Figures Task and slightly but significantly less accurate at interpreting photographs of the eye region of the face in terms of mental states. The results are discussed in terms of the broader cognitive phenotype of Asperger Syndrome and in terms of their implications for cognitive neuroscientific theories of the condition.
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• Why do girls tend to earn better grades in school than boys? Why are men still far more likely than women to earn degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? And why are men on average more likely than women to be injured in accidents and fights? These and many other questions are the subject of both informal investigation in the media and formal investigation in academic and scientific circles. In his landmark book Male, female: The evolution of human sex differences (see record 2000-07043-000 ), author David C. Geary provided the first comprehensive evolutionary model to explain human sex differences. Now, over 10 years since the first edition, Geary has completed a massive update, expansion, and theoretical revision of his classic text. New findings in brain and genetic research inform a wealth of new material, including a new chapter on sex differences in patterns of life history development; expanded coverage of genetic research (e.g., DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity as related to male-male competition in primates); fatherhood in humans; cross-cultural patterns of sex differences in choosing and competing for mates; and genetic, hormonal, and sociocultural influences on the expression of sex differences. Finally, through his motivation to control framework, Geary presents a theoretical bridge linking parenting, mate choices, and competition with children's development and sex differences in brain and cognition. The result is a lively and nuanced application of Darwin's insight to help explain our heritage and our place in the natural world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved) • Why do girls tend to earn better grades in school than boys? Why are men still far more likely than women to earn degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? And why are men on average more likely than women to be injured in accidents and fights? These and many other questions are the subject of both informal investigation in the media and formal investigation in academic and scientific circles. In his landmark book Male, female: The evolution of human sex differences (see record 2000-07043-000 ), author David C. Geary provided the first comprehensive evolutionary model to explain human sex differences. Now, over 10 years since the first edition, Geary has completed a massive update, expansion, and theoretical revision of his classic text. New findings in brain and genetic research inform a wealth of new material, including a new chapter on sex differences in patterns of life history development; expanded coverage of genetic research (e.g., DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity as related to male-male competition in primates); fatherhood in humans; cross-cultural patterns of sex differences in choosing and competing for mates; and genetic, hormonal, and sociocultural influences on the expression of sex differences. Finally, through his motivation to control framework, Geary presents a theoretical bridge linking parenting, mate choices, and competition with children's development and sex differences in brain and cognition. The result is a lively and nuanced application of Darwin's insight to help explain our heritage and our place in the natural world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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Empathy is an essential part of normal social functioning, yet there are precious few instruments for measuring individual differences in this domain. In this article we review psychological theories of empathy and its measurement. Previous instruments that purport to measure this have not always focused purely on empathy. We report a new self-report questionnaire, the Empathy Quotient (EQ), for use with adults of normal intelligence. It contains 40 empathy items and 20 filler/control items. On each empathy item a person can score 2, 1, or 0, so the EQ has a maximum score of 80 and a minimum of zero. In Study 1 we employed the EQ with n = 90 adults (65 males, 25 females) with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA), who are reported clinically to have difficulties in empathy. The adults with AS/HFA scored significantly lower on the EQ than n = 90 (65 males, 25 females) age-matched controls. Of the adults with AS/HFA, 81% scored equal to or fewer than 30 points out of 80, compared with only 12% of controls. In Study 2 we carried out a study of n = 197 adults from a general population, to test for previously reported sex differences (female superiority) in empathy. This confirmed that women scored significantly higher than men. The EQ reveals both a sex difference in empathy in the general population and an empathy deficit in AS/HFA.
Article
Empathy is an essential part of normal social functioning, yet there are precious few instruments for measuring individual differences in this domain. In this article we review psychological theories of empathy and its measurement. Previous instruments that purport to measure this have not always focused purely on empathy. We report a new self-report questionnaire, the Empathy Quotient (EQ), for use with adults of normal intelligence. It contains 40 empathy items and 20 filler/control items. On each empathy item a person can score 2, 1, or 0, so the EQ has a maximum score of 80 and a minimum of zero. In Study 1 we employed the EQ with n = 90 adults (65 males, 25 females) with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA), who are reported clinically to have difficulties in empathy. The adults with AS/HFA scored significantly lower on the EQ than n = 90 (65 males, 25 females) age-matched controls. Of the adults with AS/HFA, 81% scored equal to or fewer than 30 points out of 80, compared with only 12% of controls. In Study 2 we carried out a study of n = 197 adults from a general population, to test for previously reported sex differences (female superiority) in empathy. This confirmed that women scored significantly higher than men. The EQ reveals both a sex difference in empathy in the general population and an empathy deficit in AS/HFA.
Article
Autism is characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and restricted and stereotyped patterns of interests and activities. Developmental difficulties are apparent before 3 years of age and there is evidence for strong genetic influences most likely involving more than one susceptibility gene. A two-stage genome search for susceptibility loci in autism was performed on 87 affected sib pairs plus 12 non-sib affected relative-pairs, from a total of 99 families identified by an international consortium. Regions on six chromosomes (4, 7, 10, 16, 19 and 22) were identified which generated a multipoint maximum Iod score (MLS) > 1. A region on chromosome 7q was the most significant with an MLS of 3.55 near markers D7S530 and D7S684 in the subset of 56 UK affected sib-pair families, and an MLS of 2.53 in all 87 affected sib-pair families. An area on chromosome 16p near the telomere was the next most significant, with an MLS of 1.97 in the UK families, and 1.51 in all families. These results are an important step towards identifying genes predisposing to autism; establishing their general applicability requires further study.
Article
[This book examines] empathy from the standpoint of contemporary social/personality psychology—emphasizing these disciplines' traditional subject matter (e.g., emotion, cognition, helping, aggression) and its research techniques (survey research, laboratory experiments). [The author's] goal was to provide a thorough, readable . . . summary of contemporary empathy research [primarily for advanced undergraduate and graduate students]. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We hypothesized that girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who experience higher than normal levels of androgens prenatally, would show masculinization of behaviors that show sex differences. Therefore, we examined rough-and-tumble play and sex of preferred playmates in 3-8-year-old children with CAH and in unaffected 3-8-year-old male and female relatives. The hypothesized sex differences in rough-and-tumble play were seen, with unaffected boys showing more rough-and-tumble play than unaffected girls. However, CAH girls were similar to unaffected girls. Additionally, CAH boys showed reduced rough-and-tumble play. In contrast, sex of preferred playmates showed the hypothesized pattern of results. There were sex differences, with unaffected boys preferring boys and unaffected girls preferring girls. In addition, the preferences of girls with CAH were masculinized compared to those of unaffected girls. Results are discussed in terms of possible influences of social, hormonal, and illness factors.
Article
Previous studies have found a subgroup of people with autism or Asperger Syndrome who pass second-order tests of theory of mind. However, such tests have a ceiling in developmental terms corresponding to a mental age of about 6 years. It is therefore impossible to say if such individuals are intact or impaired in their theory of mind skills. We report the performance of very high functioning adults with autism or Asperger Syndrome on an adult test of theory of mind ability. The task involved inferring the mental state of a person just from the information in photographs of a person's eyes. Relative to age-matched normal controls and a clinical control group (adults with Tourette Syndrome), the group with autism and Asperger Syndrome were significantly impaired on this task. The autism and Asperger Syndrome sample was also impaired on Happé's strange stories tasks. In contrast, they were unimpaired on two control tasks: recognising gender from the eye region of the face, and recognising basic emotions from the whole face. This provides evidence for subtle mindreading deficits in very high functioning individuals on the autistic continuum.
Article
There is increasing support for the existence of 'social intelligence' [Humphrey (1984) Consciousness Regained], independent of general intelligence. Brothers et al. 1990) J. Cog. Neurosci., 4, 107-118] proposed a network of neural regions that comprise the 'social brain': the orbito-frontal cortex (OFC), superior temporal gyrus (STG) and amygdala. We tested Brothers' theory by examining both normal subjects as well as patients with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (AS), who are well known to have deficits in social intelligence, and perhaps deficits in amygdala function [Bauman & Kemper (1988) J. Neuropath. Exp. Neurol., 47, 369]. We used a test of judging from the expressions of another person's eyes what that other person might be thinking or feeling. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we confirmed Brothers' prediction that the STG and amygdala show increased activation when using social intelligence. Some areas of the prefrontal cortex also showed activation. In contrast, patients with autism or AS activated the fronto-temporal regions but not the amygdala when making mentalistic inferences from the eyes. These results provide support for the social brain theory of normal function, and the amygdala theory of autism.
Article
Loneliness and friendship were examined in 22 high-functioning children with autism and 19 typically developing children equated with the autistic children for IQ, CA, gender, mother's education, and ethnicity. Children between the ages of 8 and 14 were asked to report on both their understanding and feelings of loneliness and the quality of their friendship. Compared to typically developing children, children with autism were both lonelier and had less complete understandings of loneliness. Although all children with autism reported having at least one friend, the quality of their friendships was poorer in terms of companionship, security, and help. Fewer associations were found between loneliness and friendship for the autistic than for the non-autistic children, suggesting less understanding of the relation between loneliness and friendship. Implications of these results are discussed for conceptualizing the social deficits in autism.
Article
The key mental domains in which sex differences have traditionally been studied are verbal and spatial abilities. In this article I suggest that two neglected dimensions for understanding human sex differences are 'empathising' and 'systemising'. The male brain is a defined psychometrically as those individuals in whom systemising is significantly better than empathising, and the female brain is defined as the opposite cognitive profile. Using these definitions, autism can be considered as an extreme of the normal male profile. There is increasing psychological evidence for the extreme male brain theory of autism.
The cognitive neuroscience of autism: Implications for the evolution of the male brain
  • S Baron-Cohen