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09-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2017

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 8/2017

The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Ostracism in Adults with ASD

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 8/2017
Emily Trimmer, Skye McDonald, Michelle Kelly, Jacqueline Ann Rushby


Whilst some form of ostracism is experienced by most people at some point in their lives, it is experienced far more often in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Little is known about how this social exclusion is interpreted, experienced or managed. This study aimed to explore the psychological (mood and social needs) as well as the physiological (arousal) effects of ostracism using a well-established paradigm, Cyberball. Results demonstrated no differences between groups on social needs, however, mood was rated as more negatively by ASDs overall. Arousal was increased in when excluded compared with when excluded for ASDs, but not for controls. Overall, individuals with ASD experienced heightened physiological arousal but whilst these individuals reported overall lower mood, this response to ostracism was not expressed as emotionally significant to these individuals, suggesting possible interoceptive difficulties in this population. This highlights the need for both understanding in non-ASD individuals and intervention of this emotional distress in individuals with ASD.

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