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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Apr 19. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04016-x. [Epub ahead of print]

'Who Am I?': An Exploratory Study of the Relationships Between Identity, Acculturation and Mental Health in Autistic Adolescents.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK.
2
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK. Eilidh.cage@rhul.ac.uk.

Abstract

Autistic adolescents are at increased risk of mental health difficulties. One potential factor contributing to this is identity development, although this hypothesis has been little explored. These adolescents also have to consider how autism forms their identity, a process called acculturation. This exploratory study examined the relationships between identity, acculturation and mental health in autistic adolescents. Twenty-four participants completed measures investigating identity, acculturation and mental health. Findings suggested mental health was not related to personal identity. Mental health scores did not differ between acculturation groups, however those aligned to non-autistic culture tended to generate more positive self-statements than those aligned to neither culture. These findings suggest autistic adolescents should be encouraged to explore autistic culture and supported in constructing their identity.

KEYWORDS:

Acculturation; Adolescence; Identity; Mental health

PMID:
31004247
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-019-04016-x

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