Self-reported social skills importance ratings, not social skills themselves, predict sociometric status among youth with autism spectrum disorder

Erin Kang, Lee Ann Santore, James A. Rankin, Matthew D. Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: As youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience social difficulties but report wanting to be more well-liked and have more friends, it is important to understand beliefs that youth with ASD hold that may influence their peer relations. This study examined youths’ beliefs regarding their own social skills in relation to their peers’ views of them among youth with ASD. Method: Fifty-five youth with ASD (ages 8–17) participated in a 10-week program with other youth with ASD. Participants completed measures of their own social skills frequency and social skills importance, as well as sociometric ratings of other group members. Hierarchical multiple regression models were used to examine relations between self-reported social skills frequency and social skills importance ratings with sociometric outcomes rated by other peers with ASD. Results: Self-reported social skills frequency did not predict sociometric outcomes. However, youth who rated social skills as more important were less disliked by peers and were less frequently the most disliked person in the group, and peers reported greater desire to play with them again. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of evaluating youths’ own beliefs about social skills (rather than social skills frequency itself) as important predictors of social outcomes among youth with ASD. The current study adds to the growing evidence that integrating self-reports of youth with ASD as well as considering social skills importance represent valuable tools in assessing social outcomes in youth with ASD, and provides a foundation for further research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101552
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume74
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • School-age children
  • Social skills
  • Social skills importance
  • Sociometric status

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