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ERIC Number: ED547694
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 79
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-1818-7
A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Social Engagement, Isolation and Loneliness for Children and Adolescents with Autism
Mahjouri, Saara
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
The first study examined the social and emotional experience of adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) who are fully included in middle and high schools. Participants reported higher than average levels of loneliness and were observed to be isolated during most unstructured times. However, their depression and multidimensional anxiety scores were average in comparison to their age group. There were no relationships found between loneliness, anxiety or depression and percentage of time spent socially engaged during unstructured time. Qualitative notes revealed that isolation appeared to be self induced rather than exclusionary. Further, adolescents reported a disconnection between their self-perceptions: many wished to be associated with academic cliques in their school, but felt that their peers considered them differently. Adolescents with ASDs had less specific group affiliations when compared to their typically developing peers. Many self-isolating strategies were consistent with the desire to fit in with the academic clique. Study 2 categorized children and adolescents with ASDs into Wing's (1979) subtypes of social impairment and then compared social attempts and loneliness. Children and adolescents were compared on the outcome variables: percentage of social time spent solitary, percentage of time socially engaged, and self-reported loneliness. The results suggest that primary school children have different observed social patterns than secondary school children. Specifically, primary school children spend more time engaged and less time isolated than secondary school children. Aloof children and teenagers spent more social time isolated than the other Wing subtypes. Being aloof was a stronger predictor of isolation for primary aged children, than it was for secondary children. Consistent with Study 1, despite high levels, loneliness was not associated with any predictor variables. Together these studies present a complex picture of the social experience of children and adolescents with ASDs and highlight the need to create supports in schools aimed at connecting children and adolescents with ASDs with their peers during unstructured times. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A