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Evaluating the Role of Autistic Traits, Social Anxiety, and Social Network Changes During Transition to First Year of University in Typically Developing Students and Students on the Autism Spectrum

Authors
  • Lei, Jiedi1
  • Brosnan, Mark1
  • Ashwin, Chris1
  • Russell, Ailsa1
  • 1 University of Bath,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Feb 07, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
8
Pages
2832–2851
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04391-w
PMID: 32034649
PMCID: PMC7374465
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This is the first longitudinal study to quantitatively evaluate changes in social network structure (SNS) and perceived social support (PSS) amongst first-year students on the autism spectrum (n = 21) and typically developing (TD; n = 182) students transitioning to university. The relative impact of changes in SNS/PSS, students’ social anxiety and autistic traits, on first-year university transition outcomes were also examined. Both groups gained friends over time who provided better support quantity and quality during first year of university. Social anxiety showed long-term differential negative impact on students on the autism spectrum and TD students’ academic, social and personal/emotional adjustments, and institutional attachment, suggesting stakeholders should focus on delivering interventions to reduce social anxiety to improve university transition outcomes.

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