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Psychosocial Interventions Targeting Social Functioning in Adults on the Autism Spectrum: a Literature Review

  • Ashley A. Pallathra
  • Lucero Cordero
  • Kennedy Wong
  • Edward S. BrodkinEmail author
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Treatment, Services, Outcomes, and Community Functioning in Adolescents and Adults (ES Brodkin, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Autism Spectrum Disorders: Treatment, Services, Outcomes, and Community Functioning in Adolescents and Adults

Abstract

Purpose of Review

There is a perceived shortage of evidence-based treatment programs for adults on the autism spectrum. This article reviews the recent research literature on psychosocial/behavioral interventions targeting social functioning in autistic adults without intellectual disability.

Recent Findings

We identified only 41 peer-reviewed studies published from 1980 to 2017 that tested intervention programs focused on one or more of the behavioral components of social functioning (i.e., social motivation, social anxiety, social cognition, and social skills) in more than one adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The studies demonstrated substantial variability in treatment objectives, intervention procedures, assessment methods, and methodologic quality.

Summary

The results indicate a strong need for additional research to develop and rigorously test interventions for autistic adults that target the many behavioral components of social functioning and that include procedures to promote generalization of knowledge and skills to community settings.

Keywords

Autism Adult Social behavior Interventions Review 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The editors would like to thank Dr. Anthony Rostain for taking the time to review this manuscript

Funding

This study was funded by the NIMH (R34MH104407).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11920_2019_989_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley A. Pallathra
    • 1
  • Lucero Cordero
    • 1
  • Kennedy Wong
    • 1
  • Edward S. Brodkin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Translational Research LaboratoryPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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