A replication and extension of the PEERS intervention: Examining effects on social skills and social anxiety in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders

Kirsten A. Schohl, Amy V. Van Hecke, Audrey Meyer Carson, Bridget Dolan, Jeffrey Karst, Sheryl Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS: Laugeson et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 39(4):596-606, 2009). PEERS focuses on improving friendship quality and social skills among adolescents with higher-functioning ASD. 58 participants aged 11-16 years-old were randomly assigned to either an immediate treatment or waitlist comparison group. Results revealed, in comparison to the waitlist group, that the experimental treatment group significantly improved their knowledge of PEERS concepts and friendship skills, increased in their amount of get-togethers, and decreased in their levels of social anxiety, core autistic symptoms, and problem behaviors from pre-to post-PEERS. This study provides the first independent replication and extension of the empirically-supported PEERS social skills intervention for adolescents with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-545
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by a Research Development Grant and a Regular Research Grant from Marquette University, and a Grant from the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. We would like to acknowledge undergraduate assistants Rheanna Remmel, Chelsea Gasaway, Grand McDonald, Noelle Fritz, Alexandra Reveles, Jenna Kahne, Janel Wasisco, Justin Abraham, Jennifer Hilger, Nina Linneman, Rachel Olinger, Meghan Gwinn, and Benjamin Gemkow. We also wish to thank Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., UCLA, for her assistance in starting the PEERS program in Wisconsin, and the families that participated for their time and dedication to clinical research.

Keywords

  • ASD
  • Adolescence
  • Asperger's disorder
  • Autism
  • Friendships
  • Intervention
  • PEERS
  • Social anxiety
  • Social skills

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