Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 273–286 | Cite as

Parent- and Self-Reported Social Skills Importance in Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • James A. Rankin
  • Rebecca J. Weber
  • Erin Kang
  • Matthew D. LernerEmail author
Original Paper


While social skills are commonly assessed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about individuals’ and families’ beliefs regarding importance of these skills. Seventy-four parents and their children with ASD rated social skills importance and severity, as well as ASD-specific deficit severity. Parents and youth rated social skills as important overall; however, parents reported assertion and self-control to be more important than their children did. Severity and importance did not correlate overall. However, parent-report of responsibility deficits and importance were positively correlated, while youth-report of assertiveness deficits and importance were negatively correlated. Finally, ASD-specific social deficits were positively correlated with parent reported importance, but negatively correlated with child reported importance. Social skills importance ratings merit consideration in ASD assessment.


Social skills Importance Autism spectrum disorder Parent Child Informant perspectives 



The authors would like to thank the participating families, whose valuable time and dedication made this study possible. This research was partially supported by the Jefferson Scholars’ Foundation, the University of Virginia Center for Children, Families, and the Law, the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course, and Commonwealth Autism Services to Matthew Lerner. The sponsors of the study had no role in study design, data interpretation, or writing of the report. Portions of these analyses were presented at the 2015 Association for Psychological Science Convention and 2015 Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting.

Author Contributions

Rankin & Lerner contributed to all aspects of data preparation and analysis, and manuscript writing. Lerner conducted data collection. Weber & Kang contributed to manuscript writing, editing, and revision, and literature review.

Compliance with Ethical Standard

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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