Objectives: Correlations between friendship quality and psychosocial factors in young adults with ASD were explored to better understand their relationships.
Methods: 34 young adults with high-functioning ASD were assessed using a battery of self-report psychosocial measures to determine current psychological, adaptive, and social functioning. Correlations between the Friendship Questionnaire (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2003) and the Social Skills Index (SSI; Riggio, 1986), Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliot, 1990), Empathy Quotient (EQ; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004), Social Anxiety Scale (SAS; La Greca & Lopez), and Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA; DiTomasso & Spinner, 1993) were explored using Pearson correlations in order to derive a better understanding of the differences between these factors.
Results: SSI results revealed that friendship quality on the FQ is strongly correlated with overall social skills (r=.716), and is related to Social Expressivity (r=.667), Emotional Sensitivity (r=.699), and Social control (r=.472). Similarly, the FQ had moderate correlations with Empathy (r=.565) and Assertiveness (r=.472) on the SSRS. Better friendship quality on the FQ was also correlated to factors such as: decreased social loneliness on the SELSA (r=.-540) and decreased social anxiety on the SAS (r=-.366). Analyses of the EQ provided further positive correlations with the FQ in Cognitive Empathy (r=.577) and Emotional Reactivity (r=.555).
Conclusions: Findings suggest that powerful correlations exist between social skill deficits and friendship quality, which may relate to poorer psychological well being in young adults with ASD. These findings clearly highlight the need for social skills interventions that not only address social deficits, but may also address other psychological factors which may be adversely affect social functioning. Furthermore, studies of social skills treatments would do well to assess not only social skills and friendship quality changes post-treatment, but investigate broader psychological domains that may be affected by such interventions.
See more of: Psychiatric/Behavioral Comorbidities
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype