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Gelotophobia and High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract

Gelotophobia can be defined as the fear of being laughed at or ridiculed. The aim of the current literature review is to present a synthesis of the literature on gelotophobia and the link between high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (hfASD) and gelotophobia. It will also give an overview of the literature regarding the variables hypothesised to be affected by the presence of gelotophobic symptoms in individuals with hfASD; namely social functioning, perceived social support and overall quality of life. Topics explored are defining the characteristics of gelotophobia, conceptualisation and measurement implications of gelotophobia, the etiology and consequences of gelotophobia, analysing the social competence of gelotophobes, and assessing the literature on the presence of gelotophobia in a hfASD sample. The characteristics of hfASD will be discussed. Research on hfASD and its relationship with other variables is also investigated, including comorbid psychopathology, perceived social support, social functioning, shame-bound emotions and overall quality of life. The current review will place an emphasis on research conducted on an adult population of individuals with hfASD. Given the limited research in the area, more research is needed to better understand the relationship between gelotophobia and bullying, social functioning, perceived social support, comorbid psychopathology and quality of life in individuals with hfASD. In conclusion, experts in the area of gelotophobia need to expand their research to include individuals with hfASD, and autism researchers need to be aware of gelotophobia and to incorporate gelotophobia as a potential comorbidity into their research.
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... In accordance with the other findings discussed, patients showed elevated expressions in gelotophobia in comparison to controls. Gelotophobia has also received interest in research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), showing elevated expressions in clinical groups in comparison to non-clinical control groups, which has contributed to understanding the interpersonal experiences of ASD patients (e.g., Samson et al., 2011; for an overview and discussion, see Greenan et al., 2018). Finally, research on psychopathy and the Dark Triad traits (and its extension to sadism) supported the notion that the dispositions overlap with maladaptive personality traits in non-clinical samples (Proyer, Flisch et al., 2012;Torres-Marín et al., 2019. ...
... Initial studies showing gelotophobes' unique reactions to laughter concerning white-matter structural connectivity, neural correlates, changes in heart rate and EEG trajectories (Chan, 2016;Papousek et al., 2014Papousek et al., , 2016Wu et al., 2016) provide fruitful starting points for a comprehensive understanding of the dispositions, as proposed by Fournier and colleagues. Also, we hope that our findings contribute to inform future research on the dispositions in the clinical field (e.g., Brück et al., 2018;Greenan et al., 2018). ...
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List of illustrations Acknowledgements 1. Asperger and his syndrome 2. 'Autistic psychopathy' in childhood 3. The relationship between Asperger's syndrome and Kanner's autism 4. Clinical and neurobiological aspects of Asperger syndrome in six family studies 5. Asperger syndrome in adulthood 6. Living with Asperger's syndrome 7. The autobiographical writings of three Asperger syndrome adults: problems of interpretation and implications for theory Name index Subject index.
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