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This mixed-methods study examined gender differences in the social motivation and friendship experiences of adolescent boys and girls with autism relative to those without autism, all educated within special education settings. Autistic girls showed similar social motivation and friendship quality to non-autistic girls, while autistic boys reported having both qualitatively different friendships and less motivation for social contact relative to boys without autism and to girls with and without autism. Semi-structured interviews with the adolescents corroborated these findings, with one exception: autistic girls reported high levels of relational aggression within their friendships, suggesting that girls on the autism spectrum in particular may struggle with identifying and dealing with conflict in their social lives.
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- Gender Differences in the Social Motivation and Friendship Experiences of Autistic and Non-autistic Adolescents
- Springer US