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Everyday Social Functioning in People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Bellesi, G; (2016) Everyday Social Functioning in People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Positive social relationships are important for both our physical and psychological well-being, and depend on the ability to engage appropriately with other people across different situational contexts. Although qualitative and clinical reports indicate that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) struggle with their everyday interactions, there is a paucity of experimental work examining the nature and severity of their difficulties, especially those of higher-functioning adults. In the present thesis, university students with ASD and matched control participants completed a range of novel or pre-existing scenario-based tasks recreating some of the features and demands of common social situations. Overall, the findings showed that, compared to neurotypical people, individuals with ASD tended to generate less socially skilled strategies in their interactions. Although they often showed relatively intact awareness of many social and normative expectations underpinning everyday situations, their understanding of these appeared to be more limited. The results are interpreted in light of the main social and non-social theoretical models of ASD, and their implications are discussed. In particular, it is hoped that the findings will contribute to the advancement of the current body of evidence, by helping to bridge the gap between theoretical accounts of ASD and performance in the real world, and to guide the development of tailored intervention programmes for higher-functioning adults.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Everyday Social Functioning in People with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Autism Specrum Disorder, Social Functioning, Scenario-based tasks, Empathy, Mentalising
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476144
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