Assessing the effects of satisfaction with friendships and autistic-like traits on psychological well-being

Karen McKenzie*, Jack Warner, Kara Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background Friendships are important for people’s mental health, while being able to recognise other people’s emotions assists in developing and maintaining friendships. Certain groups, including people with autism, tend to find emotion recognition and the development of satisfying friendships challenging. There is little research into emotion recognition, quality of friendships and psychological well-being in people with autistic-like traits.

Aim To explore the relationships between autistic-like traits, emotion recognition, friendship satisfaction and psychological well-being with the aim of informing mental health interventions.

Method Seventy-eight people completed assessment tools measuring autistic-like traits, emotion recognition ability, friendship quality, satisfaction with the quality of friendships and psychological well-being. Correlations between variables were calculated and a multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine predictors of psychological well-being.

Results Respondents with lower emotion recognition ability were less satisfied with the quality of their friendships than those with higher emotion recognition ability. Respondents’ psychological well-being decreased in parallel with decreased satisfaction with the quality of friendships and increased levels of autistic-like traits.

Conclusion Mental health interventions that enhance people’s ability to recognise other people’s emotions and develop satisfying friendships may have a positive influence on psychological well-being, particularly in people with high levels of autistic-like traits. Further research is required to confirm this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalMental Health Practice
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date19 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2022

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