Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 1122–1130 | Cite as

Reactions to Ostracism in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Conditions

  • Catherine Sebastian
  • Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
  • Tony Charman
Original Paper


Little is known about how adolescents with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) experience the initial impact of ostracism. This study investigated whether a mild, short-term episode of experimentally induced ostracism (Cyberball) would affect self-reported anxiety, mood, and the extent to which four social needs (self-esteem, belonging, control and meaningful existence) were threatened in adolescents with ASC and matched controls. Anxiety and the four needs were negatively affected by ostracism in both groups. However, ostracism did not modulate mood in the ASC group, and a number of possible interpretations of this group difference are discussed. In general, the results of this study suggest that normative models of ostracism are applicable to ASC.


Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) Ostracism Adolescence Self-report 



We would like to thank Odette Megnin for recruiting participants for this study, and Kipling D. Williams for his advice on using the Cyberball paradigm. This research was supported by the Royal Society and the BBSRC. SJB is a Royal Society Research Fellow and CS has a BBSRC PhD studentship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Sebastian
    • 1
  • Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
    • 1
  • Tony Charman
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.UCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Human DevelopmentInstitute of EducationLondonUK

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