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Title: The social and emotional functioning of adults with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome
Author: Skelly, Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 1889
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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Introduction. This research aimed to explore differences in social and emotional functioning between adults with High Functioning Autism (HFA) and adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) through two studies. The first study aimed to explore the ability to interpret complex emotions and the perceived ability to empathise between adults with HFA and adults with AS. The second study aimed to investigate social experiences in everyday life. Method. For Study 1, data from 43 adults with AS and 43 adults with HFA, matched for age, sex, and IQ, were obtained from an existing sample of participants. Scores on two previously completed questionnaires, The Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (Eyes Test) and Empathy Quotient (EQ) were compared. Within Study 2, day to day social and emotional functioning was compared in a sample of 25 adults with HFA and 25 adults with AS, again matched for age and sex, using an online version of the Social and Emotional Functioning Interview (SEF-Q). Results. The findings from Study 1 revealed that adults with AS were significantly more able to correctly interpret emotional states in others, as measured by the Eyes Test, than adults with HFA, while there were no significant differences between groups on the EQ. The findings from Study 2 indicated that adults with AS reported significantly less challenges associated with self-image on the SEF-Q, while there were no differences between those with AS or HFA with regards to reported interpersonal difficulties, friendships and social relationships as measured by the SEF-Q. Discussion. This research suggests there are important differences between these clinical presentations. People with HFA have greater difficulty in interpreting emotional states in others and increased experiences of social and emotional difficulties associated with self-image than people with AS. The research concludes that adults with HFA may need more social support than adults with AS do which raises questions about how the conditions should be conceptualised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available