Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Personal space and friendship in Asperger and neurotypical adolescents
by Ohl, Alisha M., Ph.D., New York University, 2012, 132; 3511455
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated the relationship between personal space and friendship in adolescents with Asperger's syndrome (AS) and neurotypical (NT) adolescents living in the Eastern United States. Thirty-seven adolescents with AS and 44 NT adolescents participated in this study. All participants were given the stop-distance procedure to measure their personal space distance with a stranger, and Berndt's Assessment of Friendship Features to measure the quality of their closest friendship and gather information about the demographic characteristics of their three closest friends. Caregivers completed a demographic questionnaire and identified whether or not the adolescent participants frequently violated the personal space of their peers.

Relative to the NT group, adolescents with AS did not have significantly different personal space distances on the stop-distance procedure, but demonstrated a greater range of distances. When personal space distances were grouped according to Hall's Proxemics Theory Distance Zones, there were significant differences between the personal space groupings of AS and NT participants, with more AS participants in the intimate zone and social zone than NT participants. On average, adolescents with AS had significantly lower friendship quality scores than NT adolescents; however, these lower scores were not related to personal space distances on the stop-distance procedure or caregiver reported personal space violations. The friends of AS and NT participants were similar in terms of gender and source of the friendship, but differed significantly in age, with AS participants having friends with a larger range of ages than NT participants. These findings indicate that while there are personal space and friendship differences between AS and NT participations, personal space is not a significant determinant of friendship quality or whom adolescents with AS become friends with.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Koenig, Kristie
Commitee: Blair, Clancy, Hinojosa, Jim
School: New York University
Department: Occupational Therapy
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Occupational Therapy
Keywords: Asperger, Autism, Friendship, Personal space, Social norms
Publication Number: 3511455
ISBN: 978-1-267-39245-9
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