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'It is different for girls': Gender differences in the friendships and conflict of Autistic and neurotypical adolescents

Sedgewick, F; Hill, VC; Pellicano, E; (2019) 'It is different for girls': Gender differences in the friendships and conflict of Autistic and neurotypical adolescents. Autism , 23 (5) pp. 1119-1132. 10.1177/1362361318794930. Green open access

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Abstract

This mixed-methods study examined gender differences in the friendships and conflict experiences of autistic girls and boys relative to their neurotypical peers. In total, 102 adolescents (27 autistic girls, 26 autistic boys, 26 neurotypical girls, and 23 neurotypical boys), aged between 11 and 18 years completed the Friendship Qualities Scale, the Revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire and were interviewed about their friendships. Results demonstrated that in many ways, the friendships and social experiences of autistic girls are similar to those of neurotypical girls. Autistic girls, however, have significantly more social challenges than their neurotypical peers, experiencing more conflict and finding that conflict harder to manage successfully. Autistic boys showed quantitatively different friendship patterns to all other groups. There were consistent gender differences in the type of conflict which boys and girls experienced, regardless of diagnostic status. These findings suggest that gender, rather than diagnosis per se, plays a critical role in the way that autistic adolescents perceive and experience their social relationships.

Type: Article
Title: 'It is different for girls': Gender differences in the friendships and conflict of Autistic and neurotypical adolescents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1362361318794930
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361318794930
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: autism, girls, gender, friends, relationships, peers, conflict
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059169
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