Presentation Title

Gender Variation in Self-Esteem and Social Functioning: A Study of Traits of Autism

Faculty Mentor

Kimmy Kee-Rose, Ph. D.

Start Date

18-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 1:30 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 17

Session

Poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

There is a general agreement that individuals with autism experience lower levels of self-esteem and impairments in social functioning. Recent studies have further suggested that autism spectrum disorder may be more prevalent in individuals who pursue a career in either the field of Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, or Computer Programming compared to those in the field of Humanities or Social Sciences. However, it is unclear whether healthy individuals (nonclinical samples) with subtle traits of autism show similar deficits in self-esteem and social functioning. The current ongoing study compares aspects of self-esteem (performance, appearance, and social) and social functioning between 45 students (27 men and 18 women) in the Natural Sciences (NS) versus 107 students (31 men and 76 women) in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). We further explore whether gender would reflect these group differences. Participants’ self-esteem was measured using the State Self-Esteem Scale. Social functioning was assessed using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, a measure of the degree to which adults of average intelligence having symptoms of the autism spectrum conditions. A series of 2(Group) x 2(Gender) analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed a significant Group by Gender interaction in social self-esteem (F(1, 148)=7.69, p=.006, Eta-squared=.048), with NS students showing poorer social self-esteem compared to those in the HSS. Specifically, NS female students showed a statistically lower level of social self-esteem than their NS male counterparts (p=.006). Although not statistically significant, HSS female students showed a higher level of social self-esteem than HSS male students. In addition, a significant main effect of Group was found for social functioning (F(1, 148)=10.71, p=.001, Eta-squared=.066), indicating that NS students reported that they experienced poorer social outcome than their HSS counterparts. These preliminary findings may assist the university by potentially helping students with traits of autism to optimize their psychosocial functioning through specific programs designed to improve social self-esteem and social functioning.

Summary of research results to be presented

A series of 2(Group) x 2(Gender) analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed a significant Group by Gender interaction in social self-esteem (F(1, 148)=7.69, p=.006, Eta-squared=.048), with NS students showing poorer social self-esteem compared to those in the HSS. Specifically, NS female students showed a statistically lower level of social self-esteem than their NS male counterparts (p=.006). Although not statistically significant, HSS female students showed a higher level of social self-esteem than HSS male students. In addition, a significant main effect of Group was found for social functioning (F(1, 148)=10.71, p=.001, Eta-squared=.066), indicating that NS students reported that they experienced poorer social outcome than their HSS counterparts.

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Nov 18th, 12:30 PM Nov 18th, 1:30 PM

Gender Variation in Self-Esteem and Social Functioning: A Study of Traits of Autism

BSC-Ursa Minor 17

There is a general agreement that individuals with autism experience lower levels of self-esteem and impairments in social functioning. Recent studies have further suggested that autism spectrum disorder may be more prevalent in individuals who pursue a career in either the field of Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, or Computer Programming compared to those in the field of Humanities or Social Sciences. However, it is unclear whether healthy individuals (nonclinical samples) with subtle traits of autism show similar deficits in self-esteem and social functioning. The current ongoing study compares aspects of self-esteem (performance, appearance, and social) and social functioning between 45 students (27 men and 18 women) in the Natural Sciences (NS) versus 107 students (31 men and 76 women) in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). We further explore whether gender would reflect these group differences. Participants’ self-esteem was measured using the State Self-Esteem Scale. Social functioning was assessed using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, a measure of the degree to which adults of average intelligence having symptoms of the autism spectrum conditions. A series of 2(Group) x 2(Gender) analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed a significant Group by Gender interaction in social self-esteem (F(1, 148)=7.69, p=.006, Eta-squared=.048), with NS students showing poorer social self-esteem compared to those in the HSS. Specifically, NS female students showed a statistically lower level of social self-esteem than their NS male counterparts (p=.006). Although not statistically significant, HSS female students showed a higher level of social self-esteem than HSS male students. In addition, a significant main effect of Group was found for social functioning (F(1, 148)=10.71, p=.001, Eta-squared=.066), indicating that NS students reported that they experienced poorer social outcome than their HSS counterparts. These preliminary findings may assist the university by potentially helping students with traits of autism to optimize their psychosocial functioning through specific programs designed to improve social self-esteem and social functioning.