The Impact of Stigma, Autism Label and Wording on the Perceived Desirability of the Online Dating Profiles of Men on the Autism Spectrum

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Those seeking romantic relations are increasingly using online dating sites, including young men on the autism spectrum. This study presented dating profiles with and without an explicit label of autism and positive or negative wording to 306 ‘females seeking a male partner’. Participants assessed the men’s dating profiles in terms of perceived attractiveness, trustworthiness and desire-to-date. They also completed a questionnaire on their level of stigmatisation of, and familiarity with, autism. An explicit autism label and positive wording positively impacted perceived attractiveness. With positively worded profiles, those with highly stigmatising views reported decreased desire-to-date when an explicit label of autism was present; those with low levels of stigmatising reported increased desire-to-date when an explicit autism label was present.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date18 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2021


  • Attractiveness
  • Autism
  • Online dating
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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