Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 470-478

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Mediators of the Link Between Autistic Traits and Relationship Satisfaction in a Non-Clinical Sample

  • Monique M. H. PollmannAffiliated withDepartment of Social Psychology, VU University AmsterdamDepartment of Social Psychology, Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Tilburg University Email author 
  • , Catrin FinkenauerAffiliated withDepartment of Social Psychology, VU University Amsterdam
  • , Sander BegeerAffiliated withDepartment of Developmental Psychology, VU University Amsterdam


People with ASD have deficits in their social skills and may therefore experience lower relationship satisfaction. This study investigated possible mechanisms to explain whether and how autistic traits, measured with the AQ, influence relationship satisfaction in a non-clinical sample of 195 married couples. More autistic traits were associated with lower relationship satisfaction for husbands but not for wives. Multiple mediation analyses revealed that husbands’ responsiveness towards their wives, trust, and intimacy mediated this link between autistic traits and relationship satisfaction. These findings suggest that autistic traits may hamper men’s relationship satisfaction because they impede relationship-specific feelings and behavior. There was no partner-effect of autistic traits, indicating that more autistic traits do not necessarily influence the partner’s perceptions of relationship satisfaction.


Autism AQ Relationship satisfaction Relationship well-being Multiple mediation