College Students' Openness Toward Autism Spectrum Disorders: Improving Peer Acceptance

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Abstract

One probable consequence of rising rates of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in individuals without co-occurring intellectual disability is that more young adults with diagnoses or traits of ASD will attend college and require appropriate supports. This study sought to explore college students' openness to peers who demonstrate ASD-characteristic behaviors. Results showed a significant difference in openness between students who had a first-degree relative with an ASD (n = 18) and a gender-matched comparison group of students without such experience (F = 4.85, p = .035). Engineering and physical science majors did not demonstrate more overall openness. Universities should make efforts to prevent social isolation of students with ASD, such as programs to educate students about ASD and supports to ease college transition.

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