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May 12, 2017

network peers pic

Peers have been known as a powerful source of socialization. When children enter into adolescence, the influence of the peer group extends as it becomes a focus in the social world. However, so far the literature focused only on typically developing populations. It remains unclear whether and to what extent adolescents with autism are influenced by their peers. For better or for worse?

A study by Jorien Van Hoorn, Eric Van Dijk, Eveline Crone, Lex Stockmann, and Carolien Rieffe found that male adolescents, with and without autism, behaved more prosocially when these behaviors were endorsed by their peers. Yet, higher levels of autism features appeared to protect against peer feedback endorsing antisocial behaviors. These findings are promising as they show that peers can have a positive influence on both adolescents with and without autism. This study has been accepted for publication by Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and is now accessible online!