Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Cross-cultural Variability in Personal Identity

Dr. Aftab Khan 
Longwood University

Dr. Michel Ferrari
University of Toronto, Canada


This mixed-methods cross-cultural study compares the life narratives of personal identity in people with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Canada and Pakistan using a multifaceted model of personality. Forty-six male participants (half diagnosed with ASD) were recruited from Karachi, Pakistan, and the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. People with Autism Spectrum Disorder were matched with non-ASD according to age and academic education. They were interviewed and given self-report questionnaires about different aspects of identity. The Canadian ASD group was significantly higher in social identity, as compared to the Pakistani ASD group; the Pakistani ASD group placed greater emphasis on communion in their narratives than did the Canadian ASD group. Both ASD groups placed greater emphasis on personal agency, and valued conservation significantly more highly, than did non-ASD participants. These results support the McAdams and Pals model, showing how biology and culture mutually inform personal identity narratives.

Keywords: Personal Identity, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Personal narrative, Cross-cultural

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