Peer preferences and characteristics of same-group and cross-group social interactions among autistic and non-autistic adolescents.

Publication date: Jun 25, 2021

Autistic students often experience challenges in peer interactions, especially for young adolescents who are navigating the increased social expectations in secondary education. Previous research on the peer interactions of autistic adolescents mainly compared the social behaviors of autistic and non-autistic students and overlooked the peers in the social context. However, recent research has shown that the social challenges faced by autistic may not be solely contributed by their social differences, but a mismatch in the social communication styles between autistic and non-autistic people. As such, this study aimed to investigate the student-and-peer match in real-world peer interactions between six autistic and six non-autistic adolescents in an inclusive school club. We examined the odds of autistic and non-autistic students interacting with either an autistic peer, a non-autistic peer, or multiple peers, and the results showed that autistic students were more likely to interact with autistic peers then non-autistic peers. This preference for same-group peer interactions strengthened over the 5-month school club in both autistic and non-autistic students. We further found that same-group peer interactions, in both autistic and non-autistic students, were more likely to convey a social interest rather than a functional purpose or need, be sharing thoughts, experiences, or items rather than requesting help or objects, and be highly reciprocal than cross-group social behaviors. Collectively, our findings support that peer interaction outcomes may be determined by the match between the group memberships of the student and their peers, either autistic or non-autistic, rather than the student’s autism diagnosis.

Concepts Keywords
Autism Branches of biology
Autistic Psychiatry
Club Psychiatric diagnosis
Month Abnormal psychology
Students Autism
Learning disabilities
Neurological disorders
Pervasive developmental disorders
Autism rights movement

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH autism
disease MESH diagnosis
disease MESH autism spectrum disorders

Original Article

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