Social Validity and Preliminary Outcomes of a Mentoring Intervention for Adolescents and Adults With Autism

Lindsey M. Weiler, Annie K. Goerdt, Kalli B. Kremer, Emily Goldberg, Rebekah L. Hudock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are vulnerable to declines in social connections and an increase in depression, anxiety, and other co-occurring conditions. This study introduces a novel intervention that matches adolescents and adults with ASD in one-to-one mentoring relationships in an afterschool setting and examines its social validity. In this single-group, mixed-method pilot study, participants were seven adolescent mentees (14–18 years old; 100% male), seven adult mentors (19–33 years old; 71% male), and eight parents of mentees. A combination of project-specific and standardized assessments was used to describe the participants’ perceptions of the program and to assess well-being, self-concept, and social-emotional and behavioral outcomes. Results showed high uptake, program satisfaction, positive ratings of mentoring relationship quality, and desirable pre- to post-test change on several targeted outcomes. This study provides preliminary evidence to support the applicability and utility of a mentoring program for adolescents with ASD by adults with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalFocus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article:This study was generously supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at University of Minnesota, the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health at the University of Minnesota, and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota. This work was also supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch project MIN-52-109. These funding sources were not involved in study design, the collection, analysis or interpretation of data, the writing of this manuscript, or the decision to submit the article for publication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent their official views.

Publisher Copyright:
© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2022.


  • age
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • collaboration
  • high school
  • intervention


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