The current research addresses the effect that being in an intimate relationship has on quality of life and well-being among high-functioning young adults on the autism spectrum (HFA). The research included 31 participants: 14 involved in intimate relationships (HFA-R) and 17 not (HFA-NR). In this integrated (quantitative and qualitative) research, participants completed on-line questionnaires on demographics, quality of life and sexuality. We hypothesized that HFA-R will report higher quality of life and sexual well-being than HFA-NR. Further, a correlation was predicted between quality of life (including: satisfaction, productive capacity, social belonging/community inclusion and independence and empowerment) and sexual well-being (including: self-esteem, sexual depression and sexual preoccupation/sexual worries), especially among HFA-R. Despite the lack of significant differences in quality of life, differences were found in the indices’ content areas. There was a higher sense of social belonging/community inclusion among HFA-R, and a positive correlation between sexual well-being and productive capacity among this group. A correlation was found between high productive capacity and low sexual worries among HFA-R, but not among HFA-NR. Contrary to expectations, a positive correlation was found between sexual well-being and satisfaction among HFA-NR, while no such correlation was found among HFA-R. The findings are discussed in the context of healthy sexuality and social development and acclimation of people with HFA. The results highlight the importance of promoting social dialogue and research on the subject.
Sexuality and Disability – Springer Journals
Published: May 8, 2017
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