Investigating the links between these variables and lower peer acceptance in children with ASD is an important objective given the well-documented association that exists between peer status and children’s current and future functioning ( Parker & Asher, 1987). Although links between children’s peer status and current and future functioning are correlation, developmental theorists have suggested that social acceptance likely provides very important opportunities for the development of adaptive psychosocial functioning and adjustment and, thus, that it is a variable of great interest.
In the present study, the relationships of social-cognitive deficits and levels of externalizing behavior to lowered peer acceptance in children with ASD were tested with a mediation model using a correlation design. Thus, similar to research examining the relationship between peer status and children’s current and future functioning, the design of the present study can lead to implications about the relationships among these variables but not direct causal inferences. A co relational design is a necessary first step in research examining the processes that lead to the lowered peer acceptance of children with ASD, however. Such research sets the stage for testing this hypothesized causal model more directly. As an example, interventions addressing the cognitive and behavioral deficits of…
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