Social Identities and Mental Well-being in Autistic People

Cameron Maitland-Warne, Sinead Rhodes, Anne O'Hare, Mary Elizabeth Stewart

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Social identities relate to psychological perceptions of group memberships and form part of the self-concept. Socially identifying with groups has previously been found to associate with better mental health outcomes. This study firstly examined the factor structure and the reliability of measuring social identification in autistic adults. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the factor structure was replicated in this sample for social identification with other autistic people, but not the family. Secondly, the study assessed the number and level to which autistic adults socially identified and whether these were associated with their mental well-being. Autistic people reported feelings of social identification with many kinds of groups, some with multiple groups, whereas others did not socially identify with any group. Stronger feelings of social identification towards other autistic people and towards one’s family, and with more groups overall, were associated with less severe self-reported depression symptoms and more facets of positive mental health. These findings indicate the importance of facilitating autistic people’s engagement with social groups.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Feb 2021


  • adults
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • social cognition and social behaviour
  • Social identity
  • well-being


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