Autistic traits, adolescence, and anti-social peer pressure

VERRIER, Diarmuid, HALTON, Sabrina and ROBINSON, Matthew (2020). Autistic traits, adolescence, and anti-social peer pressure. Current Issues in Personality Psychology.

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Background The potential role of autism as a moderator of conformity has recently been investigated by a small number of studies. However, as yet, no consensus has emerged as to whether autism or autistic traits can moderate the degree to which people attend to and are influenced by social pressure, nor whether there are specific circumstances under which this might occur. The current study adds to this ambiguous literature by looking at whether autism and autistic traits are associated with conformity in the context of adolescent peer pressure. Participants and procedure A sample of 12-16 year old students completed questionnaire measures of peer conformity (e.g., in relation to smoking, skipping school, etc.), resistance to peer influence, and autistic traits. Approximately half had an autism-related diagnosis, and none had an intellectual impairment. Results Controlling for age, gender, and academic ability, we found that degree of autistic traits was associated with reduced peer conformity, while a diagnosis of autism was not. In contrast, neither autism nor autistic traits were related to resistance to peer influence. Conclusions These results are contextualised in terms of past research and positioned within a broader model of individual differences and conformity in which autistic traits moderate the degree to which a person perceives peer influence, while resistance to peer influence moderates the degree to which one conforms to peer influence. Possible future avenues of inquiry are suggested.

Item Type: Article
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 14:48
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:34

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