A Danish Pilot Study Investigating Effects of a Psychosexual Training Program for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
L. S. Thomsen1,2, K. Bøtkjær1, L. Pedersen1, G. M. Hald3, S. Tellier2 and J. Christiansen1, (1)Centre for Autism, Herlev, Denmark, (2)School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, (3)Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Current literature emphasises the need for guidance of adolescents with ASD in stimulating healthy psychosexual development and preventing potential inappropriate sexual behaviour. This requires specific knowledge and skills in all domains of psychosexual functioning (i.e. sexual behaviour, sexual selfhood, and sexual socialization).


Hence, we assessed the utility of the individual Tackling Teenage Training (TTT) intervention program to provide psychosexual-education and practice skills related to puberty, sexuality and relationships.


This pilot study systematically investigated the effect of the TTT intervention program on primary outcome (i.e. psychosexual knowledge) and secondary outcomes (i.e. self-concept and sexual behaviour problems) in adolescents with ASD (69 % male, mean age = 15.1 years, mean intelligence index = 100,6) in Denmark. The outcomes were assessed using self-report and parent-report questionnaires at baseline (T1), posttreatment (T2; after 6 months), and follow-up (T3; after 12 months).


Findings of this study show a strong primary outcome effect, which validates the TTT intervention program. Thus, the study found a statistical significant increased level of psychosexual knowledge from T1 (M = 21.2) to T2 (M = 30.4), and from T1 to T3 (M = 31.2), but not from T2 to T3. Second, it is concluded from the findings, that the secondary outcome, level of positive self-concept, statistical significantly increased in the participants from T1 (M = 44.0) to T2 (M = 50.3), but not from T2 to T3, and T1 to T3. Third, results from this study, indicate that the level of sexual behaviour problems in the participants decreased from T1 to T3.


It seems quite reasonable to conclude that the effect of the TTT program in 12-17 years-old adolescents with ASD in a Danish context, are a significantly increased level of psychosexual knowledge and positive self-concept, as well as a significantly decreased level of sexual behaviour problems. This is reasonable, even without a control group. These preliminary findings indicate that the TTT program might be an important step towards improving psychosexual functioning in adolescents with ASD in Denmark.