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"They Make Me Feel that I Have Got Friends and I am Liked": Meaningful and Reciprocal Friendships in Children and Young People With Autism.

Winkworth, James. (2014) "They Make Me Feel that I Have Got Friends and I am Liked": Meaningful and Reciprocal Friendships in Children and Young People With Autism. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Objective: Current research suggests there are many individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) who desire friendships with their peers. However they are unable to engage in such relationships because they often lack the social skills required. Peer rejection and a paucity of childhood friendships in those with ASC has been linked to negative longer term outcomes such as depression and anxiety. Over the last decade there has been an emerging body of qualitative research which has elicited a small number of instances where individuals with ASC have formed long lasting and stable friendships with their peers. At present the current qualitative literature appears incomplete and often hampered by methodological constraints inherent with the social difficulties which characterise those with ASC. The objective of this study was to increase our understanding of how young people with ASC experience and understand their friendships and how these relationships have developed throughout their lives. Design: This study adopted a semi-structured interview design comprising two thirty minute interviews. Interview data was transcribed and analyzed using the qualitative methodology of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Participants: Ten boys aged between ten and fifteen years took part in the study. All participants had a formal diagnosis of an ASC and attended the same specialist educational provision. Results: The findings from this study suggest that there are some young people with an ASC who are able to form and maintain meaningful and reciprocal friendships with their peers and that the development of these friendships may be linked to a supportive and accepting school context, and how this context is negotiated by the individual. Implications: Given the longer term outcomes of peer rejection and social isolation for those with ASC, future research into the area of friendship development over time in different educational settings is vitally important.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Winkworth, James.
Date : 2014
Additional Information : Thesis (Psych.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2014.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 14 May 2020 15:43
Last Modified : 14 May 2020 15:47

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