Higher levels of autistic traits associated with lower levels of self-efficacy and wellbeing for performing arts professionals

Eleanor Buckley*, Elizabeth Pellicano, Anna Remington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


This study sought for the first time to identify the extent to which autistic people are pursuing careers in the performing arts, and to determine the nature of the relationship between individuals’ autistic traits and their reported wellbeing. To address these aims, we recruited a self-selecting, community-based sample of individuals working in the performing arts and invited them to complete an online survey. A total of 1,427 respondents took part. We collected responses on participants’ backgrounds, including diagnostic history as well as measures assessing their level of autistic traits, perceived occupational self-efficacy, quality of life, and mental health. They were also asked open-ended questions about support needed, received, or desired in their workplace. Eleven of the 1,427 professionals (1%) reported a clinical diagnosis of autism. Correlational analyses demonstrated that higher levels of autistic traits were significantly associated with lower levels of quality of life, lower levels of occupational self-efficacy and greater severity of mental health conditions. Almost half the sample of professionals (N = 621; 44%) reported a desire for more employment-based support, and autistic traits were significantly higher in those participants who wanted greater support. Within the community of those working in the performing arts, there are a minority of individuals who are autistic or who have high levels of autistic traits. We have demonstrated for the first time that these individuals may be especially vulnerable to lower wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246423
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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