Skip to main content

Investigating the manifestation and subjective experience of restricted interests in autistic and non-autistic youth: An interpretive phenomenological analysis

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Restricted Interests (RIs), characterized by their intense focus in a restricted range of topics that interfere with other activities, are an under-researched aspect of autism. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, the characteristics and motivations for RIs were explored through interviews with thirty autistic and twenty-two non-autistic children. Both autistic and non-autistic participants' interests could be socially motivated, although some autistic participants demonstrated an absence of social motivation. Desire to overcome challenges and improve skills motivated interests in both groups. Many autistic participants, and a few non-autistic participants, indicated an obsessive engagement in their interests which highly interfered with their daily activities. Other autistic and non-autistic participants demonstrated an intense engagement in their interests, but these did not interfere with other activities and were harmoniously integrated into their identity. A thorough understanding of the motivation for RIs may help to facilitate peer interactions, social development, and identify sources of poor socioemotional functioning in autistic children.
99 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Iarocci, Grace
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd22312.pdf 1.09 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 70
Downloads: 4