A Replication and Extension of the PEERS Intervention: Examining Effects on Social Skills and Social Anxiety in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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This study aimed to evaluate the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS: Laugeson et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 39(4):596–606, 2009). PEERS focuses on improving friendship quality and social skills among adolescents with higher-functioning ASD. 58 participants aged 11–16 years-old were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment or waitlist comparison group. Results revealed, in comparison to the waitlist group, that the experimental treatment group significantly improved their knowledge of PEERS concepts and friendship skills, increased in their amount of get-togethers, and decreased in their levels of social anxiety, core autistic symptoms, and problem behaviors from pre-to post-PEERS. This study provides the first independent replication and extension of the empirically-supported PEERS social skills intervention for adolescents with ASD.