View all Research Projects

The Type of Passion and Optimal Functionning in Autism

Project end date: Ongoing project

Contact project organizer

One of the diagnostic criteria for autism is the presence of interests that are atypical in intensity or focus. These are often perceived by parents and caregivers as harmful, and are targets for autism interventions. Yet their consequences are still poorly understood, and not reported by autistic individuals themselves. According to the dualistic passion theory, an activity can be associated with positive and negative consequences, depending on the type of passion involved (obsessive or harmonious). This conceptual framework has never been applied to an autistic population, in whom restricted interests can resemble passions.

The aim of this project is to better understand the links between autistic people’s passion for their preferred activity and its consequences on optimal functioning. An online study comprising of questionnaires is being carried out with young adults with autism between the ages of 14 and 30.

This research has the potential to bring important nuance to the adaptive role of preferred interests, as perceived by people with autism. It could contribute to the recognition of the lever for intervention and social integration that these interests can represent.

Study lead: Alexa Meilleur | Contact: meilleur.alexa AT