A Replication and Extension of the PEERS® for Young Adults Social Skills Intervention: Examining Effects on Social Skills and Social Anxiety in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Young adults with ASD experience difficulties with social skills, empathy, loneliness, and social anxiety. One intervention, PEERS® for Young Adults, shows promise in addressing these challenges. The present study replicated and extended the original study by recruiting a larger sample (N = 56), employing a gold standard ASD assessment tool, and examining changes in social anxiety utilizing a randomized controlled trial design. Results indicated improvements in social responsiveness (SSIS-RS SS, p = .006 and CPB, p = .005; SRS, p = .004), PEERS® knowledge (TYASSK, p = .001), empathy (EQ, p = .044), direct interactions (QSQ-YA, p = .059), and social anxiety (LSAS-SR, p = .019). Findings demonstrate further empirical support for the intervention for individuals with ASD.
KeywordsAutism ASD Social anxiety Young adulthood Intervention Social skills
The authors would like to acknowledge grant support from the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin (ASSEW) and Marquette University. The authors would like to thank the families for their participation in our research, as well as acknowledge the Marquette Autism Project undergraduate research team for their diligent work on this project. This paper was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) May 2016 conference under the title: A Replication and Extension of the PEERS® for Young Adults Social Skills Intervention. This paper was originally prepared as the master’s thesis for the lead author: Alana J. McVey, under the same title. The lead author would like to acknowledge Nicholas Heck, Ph.D. and Michael Wierzbicki, Ph.D. for their supervision of this work as thesis committee members. Finally, the authors wish to extend their gratitude to Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., UCLA for her assistance in offering the PEERS® interventions in Wisconsin.
AM conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, facilitated delivery of the intervention, conducted the statistical analyses and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; BD, KW, SP, and JK participated in the delivery of the intervention and data acquisition; CLC, CC, and EV participated in the delivery of the intervention; NG participated in the conception and design of the study; AVVH assisted in the conception, design, and coordination of the study, assisted with the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data, and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Research Involving Human and Animal Rights
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
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