Social Withdrawal in Autism Across Cultures

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Titel: Social Withdrawal in Autism Across Cultures
Autor(en): Crafa, Daina
Zusammenfassung: Autistic disorder (AD) and social anxiety disorder (SANX) are both characterized by pathological social avoidance. Despite this similarity, AD is commonly characterized by social indifference, which precludes fear as a possible response to social interaction. Because of this distinction, the two diagnoses are assumed to be mutually exclusive. However, this assumption has never been scientifically tested. Recent research and clinical observations suggest that this assumption may be erroneous and that some individuals with AD may additionally experience social fear. Using the behavioral inhibition (BI) paradigm, studies of non-autistic, typically developing children have shown that a hesitation to engage in social interaction with strangers is common in some children and remains relatively stable across the lifespan. Results from the BI paradigm have been highly correlated with later development of SANX. In order to test whether some children with AD exhibit similar patterns of hesitation to engage in social interaction as these typical control children, the BI paradigm was applied for the first time to boys with AD. The results of this experiment show that, cumulatively, AD and typical boys exhibit similar patterns of inhibition. However, eye contact avoidance is the only single-behavior indicator of BI. Moreover, eye contact avoidance is greater in some children when meeting strangers, but greater in other children when encountering unfamiliar or ambiguous social situations. While in typical boys, there is some overlap in these responses, they appeared to be mutually exclusive in the AD boys tested. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that boys with AD may also experience social fear, that eye contact avoidance may be the most salient indicator of this fear, and that some AD boys are clearly capable of discrimination between socially normal and abnormal situations. These findings clarify much misunderstanding regarding the nature of AD, and are discussed in detail. Continuing experimentation across Europe and Asia, as well as a complimentary eye tracking experiment, are additionally discussed.
Bibliografische Angaben: Masterarbeit Universität Osnabrück, Fachbereich Humanwissenschaften, Institut für Kognitionswissenschaften, 2012
URL: https://repositorium.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-2013060710918
Schlagworte: autism; social withdrawal; eye contact; gaze; asd; culture; social anxiety; German; children; autism spectrum; high functioning; global mental health
Erscheinungsdatum: 7-Jun-2013
Enthalten in den Sammlungen:FB08 - Hochschulschriften

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