Evaluating the Role of Autistic Traits, Social Anxiety, and Social Network Changes During Transition to First Year of University in Typically Developing Students and Students on the Autism Spectrum

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This is the first longitudinal study to quantitatively evaluate changes in social network structure (SNS) and perceived social support (PSS) amongst first-year students on the autism spectrum (n = 21) and typically developing (TD; n = 182) students transitioning to university. The relative impact of changes in SNS/PSS, students’ social anxiety and autistic traits, on first-year university transition outcomes were also examined. Both groups gained friends over time who provided better support quantity and quality during first year of university. Social anxiety showed long-term differential negative impact on students on the autism spectrum and TD students’ academic, social and personal/emotional adjustments, and institutional attachment, suggesting stakeholders should focus on delivering interventions to reduce social anxiety to improve university transition outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Feb 2020

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