Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Ralf Greenwald

Second Committee Member

Mary Radeke

Third Committee Member

Stephen Schepman


Due to the increased prevalence of both the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and academic support for it, it is more likely than ever before for young adults on the spectrum to attend some form of post-secondary education. While previous research has been conducted on college students’ openness to and willingness to interact with an autistic peer, there have been no examinations on whether the gender of the peer influences these factors. This study examined the potential impact of both gender (male, female, non-binary) and stated diagnosis (ASD, social anxiety, no diagnosis) on participant perceptions of a vignette character. While no significant differences were found between groups, participants who reported having a relationship with either an autistic individual or one with social anxiety (i.e., coworkers, friends, family members) generally reported significantly more positive perceptions of the vignette character.

Available for download on Friday, June 13, 2025