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Title: Friendship and intimate relationships in people on the autism spectrum
Author: Chappell, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 6692
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Chapter one considers the literature on sexuality and long-term relationships in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The research has many methodological flaws, however it is clear that sexuality and long-term relationships are important to people with ASD. Their difficulties with social interactions may impact on the development of sexuality, and this can lead to inappropriate sexual behaviours and difficulty initiating relationships. It is suggested that further research would add to our understanding of sexuality and relationships for people with ASD. It is recommended that services should focus on supporting the development of appropriate sexual behaviours, and improving the social support networks of individuals in relationships. Chapter two explores the experiences of friendship in six adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism (AS/HFA). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to identify themes from the interviews. The super-ordinate themes are: defining friendship, maintaining friendships, difference, increasing selfawareness and maturity, and future desires. The participants particularly highlight the importance of friendship. The results are discussed in relation to existing research, and limitations of the study are considered. It is suggested that interventions by statutory and voluntary organisations should focus on early diagnosis of AS/HFA and the facilitation of friendships for adults. Chapter three provides a reflective account of conducting qualitative research with people on the autism spectrum. Reasons for the limited use of qualitative research with this group are considered, and challenges to the research process are discussed. It is argued that people on the autism spectrum have valuable contributions to add to our understanding of friendship, due to their focus on detail. The idea that autism should be seen as a difference rather than a disability is briefly discussed with reference to the empirical paper.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry