Background This study applies personal construct psychology for understanding the experiences of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Method Semistructured interviews were conducted with 26 participants from 8 families, including adolescent males with ASD, mothers, fathers, and adolescent neurotypically developing siblings. Analysis of interview data was structured according to the themes presented in a previous theoretical application of personal construct theory (PCT) for understanding adolescents with ASD.
Results Themes included complexity of the adolescent social realm, sense-making in multifaceted situations, identity development, development of flexible processing styles, and understanding and managing physical and emotional changes associated with puberty. Conclusion The study provides empirical support for the application of PCT for understanding adolescents with ASD. The insights provided by the participants may be helpful for adolescents with ASD, family members, and clinicians.