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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) Ostracism Adolescence Self-report 

References

  1. Allan, S., & Gilbert, P. (1995). A social comparison scale: Psychometric properties and relationship to psychopathology. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 293–299. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(95)00086-L.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attwood, T. (1998). Asperger’s syndrome: A guide for parents and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  3. Baird, G., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., et al. (2006). Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: The special needs and autism project (SNAP). Lancet, 368, 210–215. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69041-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, mathematicians and scientists. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 5–17. doi:10.1023/A:1005653411471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Ciarocco, N. J., & Twenge, J. M. (2005). Social exclusion impairs self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(4), 589–604. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.88.4.589.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ben Shalom, D., Mostofsky, S. H., Hazlett, R. L., Goldberg, M. C., Landa, R. J., Faran, Y., et al. (2006). Normal physiological emotions but differences in expression of conscious feelings in children with high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(3), 395–400. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0077-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berthoz, S., & Hill, E. L. (2005). The validity of using self-reports to assess emotion regulation abilities in adults with autism spectrum disorder. European Psychiatry, 20(3), 291–298. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2004.06.013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chalfant, A. M., Rapee, R., & Carroll, L. (2007). Treating anxiety disorders in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: A controlled trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1842–1857. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0318-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eisenberger, N. I., Lieberman, M. D., & Williams, K. D. (2003). Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion. Science, 302(5643), 290–292. doi:10.1126/science.1089134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eisenberger, N. I., Way, B. M., Taylor, S. E., Welch, W. T., & Lieberman, M. D. (2007). Understanding genetic risk for aggression: Clues from the brain’s response to social exclusion. Biological Psychiatry, 61(9), 1100–1108. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.08.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frith, U. (2004). Emanuel Miller lecture: Confusions and controversies about Asperger syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 45, 672–686. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00262.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hedley, D., & Young, R. (2006). Social comparison processes and depressive symptoms in children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome. Autism, 10, 139–153. doi:10.1177/1362361306062020.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hill, E., Berthoz, S., & Frith, U. (2004). Brief report: Cognitive processing of own emotions in individuals with autistic spectrum disorder and in their relatives. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(2), 229–235. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000022613.41399.14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Howlin, R. (2003). Asperger syndrome in the adolescent years. In L. Holliday Willey (Ed.), Asperger syndrome in adolescence: Living with the ups and downs and things in between (pp. 13–37). London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  15. Kim, J. A., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S. E., Streiner, D. L., & Wilson, F. J. (2000). The prevalence of anxiety and mood problems among children with autism and Asperger syndrome. Autism, 4(2), 117–132. doi:10.1177/1362361300004002002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kuusikko, S., Pollock-Wurman, R., Jussila, K., Carter, A. S., Mattila, M. L., Ebeling, H., et al. (2008). Social anxiety in high-functioning children and adolescents with autism and Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(9), 1697–1709. doi:10.1007/s10803-008-0555-9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lawson, W. (2001). Understanding and working with the spectrum of autism: An insider’s view. London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  18. Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E., Leventhal, B., DiLavore, P. C., et al. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 205–223. doi:10.1023/A:1005592401947.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le, C. A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview-revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 659–685. doi:10.1007/BF02172145.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rosenberg, M. (1968). Self-esteem questionnaire. In Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Sebastian, C., Viding, E., Williams, K.D., Charman, T., & Blakemore, S.-J.(2008, April). Affect regulation after social exclusion is still developing in adolescence. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  22. Silani, G., Bird, G., Brindley, R., Singer, T., Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2008). Levels of emotional awareness and autism: An fMRI study. Social Neuroscience, 3(2), 97–112. doi:10.1080/17470910701577020.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Spielberger, C. D. (1983). Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  24. Tantam, D. (2000). Psychological disorder in adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome. Autism, 4(1), 47–62. doi:10.1177/1362361300004001004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wechsler, D. (1999). The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-UK. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  26. Williams, K. D. (1997). Social ostracism. In R. M. Kowalski (Ed.), Aversive interpersonal behaviors (pp. 133–170). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  27. Williams, K. D. (2001). Ostracism: The power of silence. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Williams, K. D. (2007). Ostracism. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 425–452. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085641.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Williams, K. D., Cheung, C. K., & Choi, W. (2000). Cyberostracism: Effects of being ignored over the Internet. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(5), 748–762. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.79.5.748.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Williams, K. D., & Jarvis, B. (2006). Cyberball: A program for use in research on ostracism and interpersonal acceptance. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 38, 174–180.Google Scholar
  31. Williamson, S., Craig, J., & Slinger, R. (2008). Exploring the relationship between measures of self-esteem and psychological adjustment among adolescents with Asperger syndrome. Autism, 14(4), 391–402. doi:10.1177/1362361308091652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zadro, L., Boland, C., & Richardson, R. (2006). How long does it last? The persistence of the effects of ostracism in the socially anxious. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 692–697. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2005.10.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zadro, L., Williams, K. D., & Richardson, R. (2004). How low can you go? Ostracism by a computer is sufficient to lower self-reported levels of belonging, control, self-esteem, and meaningful existence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 560–567. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2003.11.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations