Virtual Conference
Mental Health 2022

Pnina Arad

Private Practice, Israel

Title: Physical and Mental Health of Women in Neurodiverse Relationships

Abstract

Although the global awareness of autism continues to show signs of growth, little empirical research has been done on the way in which autistic traits impact romantic relationships. 
The existing body of knowledge indicates a severe state of distress in women who are in couple relationships with men, diagnosed or suspected to be on the autism spectrum. However, this knowledge is mainly based on non-scholarly literature and as such, is not given serious consideration by clinicians and the scientific community.
Aiming to raise the awareness and change the existing situation, I conducted a quantitative study exploring the experiences and health condition of women in neurodiverse relationships. The research population included 648 women in three groups: 228 women (35.2%) whose partners were formally diagnosed with autism; 203 women (31.3%) who suspected their partners to be on the autism spectrum; 217 women (33.5%) in the control group, with neurotypical partners. Data collection was performed through online self-report questionnaires.
The findings strongly indicate that women in neurodiverse relationships qualify their physical and mental health as worse than women who are in neurotypical relationships. One of the main findings was the lack of difference between women whose partners were formally diagnosed with ASD and women who suspected their partners to be on the autism spectrum, for most of the examined measures. The current research has significant clinical and practical implications concerning the need to develop educational programs for professionals and effective clinical interventions.

In my proposed oral presentation, I will describe my research, share my findings, and discuss the conclusions and implications of my study's results. I believe that increasing the alertness of healthcare professionals to the characteristic complaints of women in neurodiverse relationships may greatly contribute to their potential for providing appropriate support and assistance for this population of women and neurodiverse couples.

Biography

My name is Pnina Arad, and I am the author of the book: "When Your Man Is on the Spectrum: To Know, Understand & Transform Your Relationship". 
I am a couple counselor, group facilitator and women’s empowerment life coach, specializing in neurodiverse relationships. I have helped hundreds of women and couples in Israel and around the world to surmount their challenges and change their lives. 
I hold a Psy. D. degree from the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento, California. My doctoral dissertation was the first empirical study exploring the physical and mental well-being of women in neurodiverse relationships.
I am committed to creating awareness, sharing knowledge, and assisting women and couples to successfully navigate the complexities of neurodiversity in their relationships.
I have been married for 29 years and I am the mother of two grown boys. I live in Israel and work in my private clinic and online.