23. Loneliness and Social Isolation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  1. Robert J. Coplan and
  2. Julie C. Bowker
  1. Connie Kasari1 and
  2. Lindsey Sterling2

Published Online: 6 DEC 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118427378.ch23

The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone

The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone

How to Cite

Kasari, C. and Sterling, L. (2013) Loneliness and Social Isolation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, in The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal, and Being Alone (eds R. J. Coplan and J. C. Bowker), John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. doi: 10.1002/9781118427378.ch23

Author Information

  1. 1

    Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

  2. 2

    Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 DEC 2013
  2. Published Print: 23 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118427361

Online ISBN: 9781118427378

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Keywords:

  • Loneliness;
  • autism spectrum disorders;
  • friendship

Summary

In this chapter, the constructs of aloneness and loneliness are discussed within the context of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), particularly in terms of how children on the autism spectrum may experience loneliness. Difficulty establishing relationships may play a role in the development of loneliness in ASD, but the experience of loneliness may also be influenced by individual differences in cognitive function, self-perception, social awareness, and ability to understand emotional states. To explore these concepts, we present findings from the extant literature regarding how children with ASD understand and perceive friendships, quality of relationships, and reciprocity and connectedness to social networks. The potential negative impacts of poor friendship quality, including loneliness and internalizing psychopathology, particularly among older children with ASD, are discussed. The chapter concludes with suggestions for prevention and intervention to facilitate social relationships and thereby reduce the potential for development of loneliness and other negative outcomes.