Leisure participation and satisfaction in autistic adults and neurotypical adults

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Stacey, TL, Froude, EH, Trollor J, Foley KR, in press, 'Leisure participation and satisfaction in autistic adults and neurotypical adults', Autism.

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Leisure participation is important for well-being and has been attributed to improved quality of life for autistic individuals. Rigorous studies exploring the leisure participation of autistic adults are sparse. This study aimed to compare the type of leisure activity and frequency of participation between autistic adults and neurotypical adults as well as compare and identify factors associated with their leisure satisfaction. Data for 145 autistic and 104 neurotypical adults were obtained from time point one of the Australian Longitudinal Study of Adults with Autism. The primary outcome measure used was the Leisure Satisfaction Scale. Autistic adults were less satisfied with their leisure overall (mean = 3.29, standard deviation = 0.75) compared with neurotypical adults (mean = 3.69, standard deviation = 0.55). Multiple linear regression revealed being younger and reporting less depressive symptoms were significantly associated with higher leisure satisfaction in autistic but not neurotypical adults. Engagement in solitary leisure activities was comparable across participants, but socialising in person was predominated by neurotypical adults. Leisure activity preferences of autistic adults’ and the frequency of their leisure participation are important factors for clinicians to understand when working with this population and tailoring well-being interventions.

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