I Cannot See it in Their Eyes: How Autism Symptoms Hamper Dating

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  • Despite having typical sexual interests, research shows that few individuals with autism form romantic relationships. The goal of this thesis was to replicate research showing an association between autism symptoms and inappropriate dating behaviours, in particular. It was also to test whether poor theory of mind (ToM; necessary for empathy), mediates the association between autism symptoms and inappropriate dating. University students (n=124, Mage=19.7 years) completed measures of autism symptoms, inappropriate dating behaviours, self-reported flirt perception, and the Eyes Test-Revised ToM measure (Baron-Cohen et al., 2001a). Mediation tests revealed that poor ToM mediated the association between autistic communication symptoms, and inappropriate dating behaviours. Poor ToM, together with increased perception of others’ flirtations, also serially mediated the autism/inappropriate dating association. That ToM is a mediator for inappropriate dating behaviours is important for understanding the basis of these behaviours, and also for the development of potential interventions to prevent stalking in this population.

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  • Copyright © 2014 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2014


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