College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)
NACO controlled Corporate Body
University of North Florida. Department of Psychology
Dr. Angela Mann
Dr. Dawn Witherspoon
Dr. Gary Lam
Dr. Lori Lange
Individuals with and without High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (HFA/AS) both show interest in sexuality and/or romance. However, the symptoms of autism, such as difficulties with indirect communication, emotional expression, signaling, theory of mind, and sexuality, can elicit difficulties that make the establishment and maintenance of romances problematic. Despite these challenges, many individuals on the spectrum have reported romantic experiences. To gain a better understanding of how such individuals formed and sustained romantic relationships, seven participants with HFA/AS were interviewed using a semi-structured approach followed by a thematic analysis of their transcribed responses. It was found that common circumstances served to catalyze the relationship-formation process resulting in initiation despite in socialization ability. Once a romantic relationship was established, having a supportive partner was found to be instrumental in its maintenance.
Loewy, Aaron, "An Examination of Romantic Relationship Initiation Strategies Utilized by Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome" (2021). UNF Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 1077.
Available for download on Tuesday, July 14, 2026