The transition to adolescence may be a challenging time for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This developmental period is marked by increased social demands and increasing anxiety and depression symptoms for many individuals with autism. As both of these factors may compound social difficulties and impact friendship experiences, this study explored the relations among autism symptom severity, internalizing symptoms, and friendship experiences in boys with and without ASD (with IQ > 75). Results showed that internalizing symptoms predicted quantity of close friendships in the ASD group. Given the observed relationship between internalizing symptoms and friendship experiences, social skills intervention programs should address possible internalizing symptoms associated with establishing/maintaining social relationships and perceived friendship quality.

You do not currently have access to this content.