Category: Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders

PS6- #B57 - Self-Reported Social Skills Importance Ratings Predict Sociometric Status in Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Friday, Nov 17
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders | Social Relationships | Child

Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit pathognomonic social deficits (ASD; Hobson, 2013), and are often viewed negatively by their peers (Sasson et al., 2017). Regardless of actual social skill, both ASD youth and their parents view social skills as important (Rankin et al., 2016). Many social skills interventions (SSIs) for youth with ASD focus on a mix of teaching (Weiss & Harris, 2001) social skills and highlighting their importance (Laugeson et al., 2009; Bass & Mulick, 2007). As such, it is important to understand the relative contribution of knowing social skills versus believing that they are important to social outcomes with peers. This is the first study to examine the effect of self-reported social skills and social skills importance ratings on sociometric outcomes of ASD youth. It was hypothesized that social skills and social skills importance ratings would be positively associated with positive sociometric nominations.


Thirty-nine youth (Mage=12.39, SDage=2.99; 30 male) with ADOS-2-confirmed ASD diagnoses were placed in groups of 5-9 children for 10 weeks. At baseline, participants completed a measure of social skills and their importance (SSiS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008). After both the first and last week, participants completed a sociometric interview (Coie et al., 1982) in reference to their peers in the same group. Each child received sociometric ratings from peers on how much they were liked, disliked, seen as a friend, and the object of desired to play again.


Hierarchical multiple regression controlling for baseline sociometric ratings revealed that self-reported importance ratings of social skills predicted fewer nominations of being disliked (b=-.002, p=.005), and being the most disliked person in the group (b=-.007, p=.005), while social skills ratings themselves were not significant predictors of sociometric outcomes (all p>.069). This was driven specifically by self-control, cooperation, assertion, responsibility, and empathy (all b<-.030, p < .028). Social skills importance ratings predicted being less disliked (b=-.008, p=.004.), and predicted a reduced instance of being the most disliked person in the group (b=-.006, p=.002), even after controlling for self-reported social skill ratings.


Greater self-reported importance ratings of social skills related to fewer nominations of being both disliked generally and being the most disliked person in the group; self-reported social skills ratings did not. These findings demonstrate that ASD youths’ perceptions of social skills importance predicts peer rated sociometric status over time, thus emphasizing the value of focusing on teaching the importance of social skills (Bass & Mulick, 2007), rather than just the skills themselves, in interventions for ASD youth. 

Lee A. Santore

Research Coordinator
Stony Brook University
North Babylon, New York

Erin Kang

Stony Brook University

Christopher M. Esposito

Research Assistant
Stony Brook University

Samantha L. Sommer

Research Coordinator
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York

Amanda Stoerback

Stony Brook University

Deborah Gross

Stony Brook University

Matthew D. Lerner

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, & Pediatrics
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York