There has been a substantial increase in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research over the last decade. An important advancement in this research has been in the study of well-being in people with ASD. The purpose of the current study was to examine the deficit and strength foci of well-being research in the field. One thousand one hundred and fifty-four articles were randomly selected across five major ASD journals over an 11-year period and were coded for a focus on well-being, perspective (deficits, strengths, or mixed), intervention or non-intervention study, topic area, and methodology. Approximately 37% (n = 431) of articles focused on well-being of people with ASD. Half of these studies had a deficits perspective (50.3%), 11% had a strengths perspective, while the rest were mixed (i.e. both deficits- and strengths-focused). Roughly 41% of well-being articles were intervention studies. Approximately 58% of strengths- and mixed-focused articles included a focus on a strength construct (e.g. positive affect, self-determination). The current study provides a foundation for future strengths-focused work, which is essential to our understanding of well-being and positive functioning. Findings highlight trends with respect to the focus on strengths in ASD research, which may have important implications on positive conceptualizations of ASD and future strengths-focused research and practice.
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Burnham Riosa, P., Chan, V., Maughan, A. et al. Remediating Deficits or Increasing Strengths in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: a Content Analysis. Adv Neurodev Disord 1, 113–121 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41252-017-0027-3