Relations Between Autistic Traits, Social Anxiety, and Attribution Biases in Young Adults




Koon, Carly

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Previous research has found that autistic children show increased hostile or negative attributions (e.g., assuming a classmate bumped into you on purpose) as compared to their neurotypical peers. Very little work, however, has examined relations between autistic traits and attribution styles in adults, leaving open questions about whether these relations change over development. This study examined whether autistic traits modulated attribution biases in a large sample (N=826) of young adults. Participants completed a survey which included measures of autistic traits, social attribution biases (positive, negative, and neutral), social interaction anxiety, and social support. Despite previous findings, the current study found no relation between higher autistic traits and increased negative attributions, although social anxiety did predict increased rates of negative attributions. More research should be done in clinical samples and should examine attribution styles longitudinally, as there is potential for styles to change as an autistic individual ages and matures.



autism, social attribution theory, social interaction anxiety, hostile attribution, Honors College


Koon, C. (2022). Relations between autistic traits, social anxiety, and attribution biases in young adults (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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