Sexuality in Adolescent Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Self-reported Behaviours and Attitudes
- 2.6k Downloads
Differences in sexual functioning of adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are understudied. In the current study, self-reported sexual behaviours, interests and attitudes of 50 adolescent boys, aged 15–18, with at least average intelligence and diagnosed with ASD, were compared with a matched general population control group of 90 boys. Results demonstrated substantial similarity between the groups in terms of sexual behaviours. The only significant difference was that boys with ASD reacted more tolerant towards homosexuality compared to the control group. Results reveal that sexuality is a normative part of adolescent development in high-functioning boys with ASD. Hence, attention should be given to this topic in education and mental health care.
KeywordsAutism Asperger’s disorder Sexuality Sexual behaviour
We are most grateful to all boys and their parents who participated in this study. The authors also would like to thank Hanneke De Graaf, Rutgers WPF, for sharing the SO25II questionnaire and data. Also thanks to Karin Brouwers and colleagues at Koninklijke Kentalis, Eindhoven; Liesbeth Van Vught and colleagues at Pleinschool Helder, Eindhoven; Jan Wijnja and colleagues at VSO De Korenaer, Eindhoven; Karien de Jonge and colleagues at Herlaarhof, Vught; Sussiel Brands at Leo Kannerhuis Brabant, Tilburg; Sanne Herpers and MJ Verhappen at GGzOostbrabant and our colleagues at UKJA, Antwerpen and GGzE. No grants or support were received for this work. This research project was part of the requirements to fulfil the postacademic specialist training in Clinical Psychology at Rino Zuid, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
- Bastiaansen, J. A., Meffert, H., Hein, S., Huizinga, P., Ketelaars, C., Pijnenborg, M., et al. (2011). Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders in adults: The use of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) module 4. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(9), 1256–1266.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, H. (2013). Becoming an “autistic couple”: Narratives of sexuality and couplehood within the Swedish autistic self-advocacy movement. Sexuality & Disability. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11195-013-9336-2.
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- de Graaf, H., Kruijer, H., Van Acker, J., & Meijer, S. (2012). Seks onder je 25e: Seksuele gezondheid van jongeren in Nederland anno 2012 [Sex under the age of 25: Sexual health among youth in the Netherlands in 2012]. Delft, The Netherlands: Eburon.Google Scholar
- Diamond, L. M., & Savin-Williams, R. C. (2009). Adolescent sexuality. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology, volume 1: Individual bases of adolescent development (3rd ed.), (pp. 479–523). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Dunne, M. P., Martin, N. G., Bailey, J. M., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Madden, P. A., et al. (1997). Participation bias in a sexuality survey: Psychological and behavioural characteristics of responders and non-responders. International Journal of Epidemiology, 26(4), 844–854.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Gabriels, R. L., & Van Bourgondien, M. E. (2007). Sexuality and autism: Individual, family, and community perspectives and interventions. In R. L. Gabriels & D. E. Hill (Eds.), Growing up with autism: Working with school-age children and adolescents (pp. 58–72). London, UK: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Haracopos, D., & Pedersen, L. (1992). Sexuality and autism: The Danish report. Unpublished manuscript. http://www.autismuk.com/?page_id=1293. Accessed October 22, 2012.
- Hénault, I., & Attwood, T. (2006). The sexual profile of adults with Asperger’s syndrome: The need for support and intervention. In I. Hénault (Ed.), Asperger’s syndrome and sexuality: From adolescence through adulthood (pp. 183–192). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Rutter, M., Dilavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (1999). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule: Manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
- Milton, J., Duggan, C., Latham, A., Egan, V., & Tantam, D. (2002). Case history of co-morbid Asperger’s syndrome and paraphilic behaviour. Medicine, Science and Law, 42, 237–244.Google Scholar
- Moore, S., & Rosenthal, D. (2006). Sexuality in adolescence: Current trends. Hove, UK: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Rutter, M., Le Couteur, A., & Lord, C. (2003). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
- ‘t Hart-Kerkhoffs, L. A., Jansen, L. M., Doreleijers, T. A., Vermeiren, R., Minderaa, R. B., & Hartman, C. A. (2009). Autism spectrum disorder symptoms in juvenile suspects of sex offenses. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 70(2), 266–272.Google Scholar
- Tolman, D. L., Striepe, M. I., & Harmon, T. (2010). Gender matters: Constructing a model of adolescent sexual health. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 37–41.Google Scholar