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Social Connection as a Protective Factor for Individuals with ASD and Social Anxiety

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Lizzy Smith

Additional Presenters:
James Blood (, Melissa Chavez (
There has been a significant amount of research into social support as a protective factor against suicide. This information is important because it provides a coping mechanism for those with suicidal ideation and tendencies. All of that research has conclusively stated that social support is a protective factor against suicide, however, the greater portion of the research was completed in a neurotypical population. The scientific community lacks information and research on how protective social support is for populations of neurodiverse individuals. In attempts to answer this issue, we have gathered data from a socially anxious group, autistic group, and control group about social interaction and connection over a time period ranging from 6 weeks to 9 months. The individuals from each group were asked questions about their virtual and face-to-face interactions via a Metricwire survey that they received every night for the duration that they participated in the study. The results of both in-person and digital results suggest a weak correlation in support of a possible coping mechanism that the more social connection one has, the less suicidal they will be (representing a downward trend). Nevertheless, it was highly dependent per individual as to whether they find social support to be a protective factor. Thus, from this measure it is shown that social support is a protective factor for those within the neurodivergent population, all though a weak one. This suggests that other protective factors may be more relevant to the neurodiverse population. Further research regarding this question must be completed to come to a scientifically relevant conclusion this question
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A53
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Jared Nielsen