Happiness, self-esteem, and prosociality in children with and without autism spectrum disorder: Evidence from a UK population cohort study.

Autism Res. 2018 Jul 06;:

Authors: McChesney G, Toseeb U

Abstract
High levels of childhood happiness, self-esteem, and prosociality are associated with positive social and emotional outcomes. Little is known about whether these constructs co-occur and how levels of co-occurrence are different in children with or without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Data was obtained from 13,285 11-year olds (408 with ASD) from a UK based prospective cohort study. Latent class analysis revealed five distinct classes: The “very low prosociality class” (with ASD 32% vs. without ASD 7%) was characterized by children who were happy and had high self-esteem but they were not prosocial. The “low happiness class” (with ASD 3% vs. without ASD 3%), included those children who had moderate self-esteem and were prosocial but were the least happy. Children in the “low to moderate positive functioning class” (with ASD 16% vs. without ASD 6%) were moderately happy and had the lowest self-esteem but were prosocial. The “moderate to high positive functioning class” (with ASD 17% vs. without ASD 23%) was characterized by children who were happy, had moderate self-esteem, and were very prosocial. The majority of children were in the “optimum class” (with ASD 31% vs. without ASD 62%), and were very happy, very prosocial with high self-esteem. Our findings demonstrate that for the majority of children in our sample, happiness, self-esteem, and prosociality co-occur. Furthermore, although as a group children with ASD have lower levels of positive functioning, our multivariable latent class approach suggests that nearly half of children with ASD are happy, have good levels self-esteem, and are prosocial. Autism Res 2018. © 2018 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
LAY SUMMARY: High levels of childhood happiness, self-esteem, and prosociality are associated with positive social and emotional outcomes. In this study, we investigated whether happiness, self-esteem and prosociality co-occur in children, and how possible co-occurrence differs between those with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. We found that for the majority of children happiness, self-esteem, and prosociality co-occur. Furthermore, although as a group children with ASD have lower levels of positive functioning, our findings suggest that nearly half of children with ASD are happy, have good levels of self-esteem, and are prosocial.

PMID: 29979489 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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