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

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Mintah, Kojo




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.


Psychology - Developmental
Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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