Leisure Participation of Autistic Adults: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Feasibility Study


Autistic adults participate less and express lower satisfaction in leisure activities than nonautistic adults, although literature is limited. The multifaceted nature of leisure participation makes it challenging to measure, with most measures being retrospective. Ecological momentary assessments (EMA) can reduce recall bias. This pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of EMA among autistic adults. Participants (N = 40) were recruited via email and online. After completing a baseline interview, participants were asked to complete a once-daily survey for 30 days, in which they received survey links through a text messaging smartphone app. Surveys asked participants to report whether they participated in any leisure activities during the day, their level of enjoyment, with whom they interacted, and where they participated. The EMA appeared feasible in this sample, as participants completed the daily survey on average 27.05 (SD = 3.92) days. Regarding acceptability, most agreed that survey timing was convenient, that it was easy to enter responses and answer questions daily, and that they had enough response time. Overall, this study supports the use of EMA methodology among autistic adults. Future research should follow and improve upon these EMA data collection practices to examine daily behavior and well-being among autistic adults.

Suggested Citation

Song, W., Zheng, L., Tichá, R., Abery, B., & Nguyen-Feng, V. N. (2023). Leisure Participation of Autistic Adults: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Feasibility Study. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 128(4), 319–333. https://doi.org/10.1352/1944-7558-128.4.319


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 128, Number 4
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


  • Community life
    • Recreation and leisure
  • Specific life stage
    • Adults
  • Specific disability
    • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)