Promoting peer acceptance of females with higher-functioning autism in a mainstream education setting: A replication and extension of the effects of an autism anti-stigma program
This study evaluated the effects of an eight-session female higher-functioning autism anti-stigma program on the knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions of adolescent girls. Participants were seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students (N = 273) in a mainstream school. Two-eighth-grade classes were randomly allocated to the intervention condition. The remaining students were either allocated to the no-intervention peer or no-intervention non-peer condition. The anti-stigma program positively influenced knowledge, attitudes and to a lesser extent behavioural intentions towards peers with higher-functioning autism within the intervention condition. Some degree of attitudinal improvement occurred across all conditions following the program suggesting some spill over effects. Overall, findings provide preliminary evidence supporting the efficacy of an anti-stigma program tailored to support females with higher-functioning autism.
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