School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Treg Hopkins

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


autism spectrum disorder, neurodiversity, post-secondary, sexual self-efficacy, sexual self-concept, sexual health, sexuality, transitioning youth


Education | Medicine and Health Sciences


This dissertation adds to the progressive conversation in education regarding sexuality and neurodiversity. This study aimed to determine if there are differences in post-secondary sexual self-efficacy and sexual self-concept outcomes among transitioning youth with level one and two autism spectrum disorder. It explored the relationship of the components of sexual self-efficacy and sexual self-concept outcomes from the perspective of transitioning youth with autism. As advocates for the disability community continue to push reform for inclusiveness, it is vital that all areas of independent living, including sexual health, are not excluded. This study added to the understanding of autism, the specific barriers of sexuality, and how those barriers effect the autism population’s transition to adulthood. This quantitative, causal-comparative study included a sample size of 164 participants with level one and two autism spectrum disorder in the postsecondary setting. A MANOVA facilitated the results of the study that indicated there was a statistically significant difference in post-secondary sexual self-efficacy, as measured by the SHPSES, and sexual self-concept outcomes, as measured by the MSSSC, among young adults with level one and two autism spectrum disorder. Limitations to the study included self-reported data, the influence of co-occurring disabilities, consideration of culturally diverse populations, and participants’ willingness to volunteer for the study. Future studies should examine the multidimensional constructs of sexual self-efficacy and sexual self-concept, the confounding effects on sexual health outcomes among young adults with co-occurring disabilities, the influence of culture on sexual health outcomes, and the effect to which graduation status influences the sexual health outcomes of neurodivergent individuals.