Autistic features in the general population: Implications for sensing purpose in life

Kaylin Ratner, Anthony L. Burrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose in life has been discussed as a psychosocial process in which individuals construct their life aims in relation to other people. Consequently, difficulty attending to social cues could limit the extent to which individuals feel purposeful. The present study (N = 252) examined links between subclinical autistic features found in the general population and perceived purpose in life. Results showed that autistic features were negatively associated with purpose even after accounting for age, gender, positive mood, and dispositions in Big 5 personality traits. Findings are discussed in terms of directions for future research aimed at elucidating the mechanisms that may explain the observed associations. In completing this study, it is hoped that the present findings can be utilized as groundwork for the investigation of psychosocial development in special populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • autism
  • individual differences
  • Purpose in life
  • social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology

Cite this