College Students with ASD at Higher Risk for Physical and Emotional Aggression Victimization

December 19, 2021

Dating ASD College Students Also at Increased Risk for Partner Abuse 

Boston University’s School of Public Health has conducted the first study that compares physical, sexual, and emotional aggression victimization among college students with and without autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, the research showed college students on the spectrum were at substantially increased risk for both physical and emotional aggression victimization as compared to neurotypical college-attending peers. The study’s research team also found that students with autism were as likely as non-autistic college students to report sexual violence victimization, including intimate partner sexual assault victimization, even though students on the spectrum were substantially less likely to report having intimate partners. This result suggests that college students with autism in dating relationships are at increased risk for partner abuse compared to their neurotypical peers. Additionally, the students with autism who reported sexual violence victimization were significantly more likely than non-affected students to report that it affected their academic progress and performance. The study’s authors conclude that colleges and universities should prioritize determining how to prevent and respond to interpersonal aggression against college students with autism on campus, especially since there will be an increasing percentage of undergraduates on the spectrum in the future.  

Original Study

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