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Understanding Friendship Sex Heterophily and Relational Characteristics to Optimize the Selection of Peer Models for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Jul 07;:

Authors: Locke J, Anderson A, Frederick L, Kasari C

Abstract
This study used social network analysis to evaluate whether sex heterophily, the degree to which peers are different in sex, between 126 children with autism (ages 5-12 years) and their peers affected social network connectivity. Results indicate that: (1) the quantity and sex of friends were more important in predicting social network connectivity than the relational characteristics of the friends (friendship nominations and social network salience/popularity); and (2) sex heterophily is an important factor in predicting social network connectivity. For males with autism, having friends of the same sex was associated with better social network connectivity; this was not true for females with autism. These findings have important implications for the selection of peer models for elementary-aged children with autism.

PMID: 29982894 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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