Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships




School of Education




Wilson, B. M., Main, S., O’Rourke, J., & Slater, E. (2023). Needing more, needing less: Unravelling why a prompt dependency cycle forms in neurodiverse relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Advance online publication.


Social interaction is a fundamental component of relationships; however, the key features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) include marked and lifelong impairments in social interaction that adversely affects abilities to fulfil this essential relationship requirement. Despite the momentum of worldwide research on ASD, there is insufficient empirical study on adults with ASD and their relationships. This research examined the reported social interaction needs of adults when involved in neurodiverse relationships (relationships that include adults with ASD and neurotypical (NT) adults). The use of an advocacy/participatory approach allowed for a detailed investigation of the characteristics of participants’ interpersonal communication. It was identified that a pairing of incompatible social interaction needs caused a sequence of distinctive, competing, and intertwined interactions that formed into interwoven communication cycles. These cycles included compensatory and competing behaviours, which were specific to each group of participants. Prompting, prompt dependency and/or prompt avoidance occurred within a dynamic system.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License