Loneliness and Social Support in Adolescent Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Loneliness and perceived social support were examined in 39 adolescent boys with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by means of a self-labeling loneliness measure, the UCLA Loneliness Scale (third version), and the Social Support Scale for Children. Twenty-one percent of the boys with ASD described themselves as often or always feeling lonely. Compared with 199 boys from regular schools in a national probability study, ASD was strongly associated with often or always feeling lonely (OR: 7.08, p < .0005), as well as with a higher degree of loneliness (F(1,229) = 11.1, p < .005). Perceived social support from classmates, parents, and a close friend correlated negatively with loneliness in ASD. The study, therefore, indicates a high occurrence of loneliness among adolescent boys with ASD and points at perceived social support as an important protective factor.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorders Loneliness Social support Peer relationships Adolescence
We are grateful for the assistance provided by the staff and students from Langagerskolen, Aarhus and Firkløverskolen, Randers.
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