Factors influencing perceptions of individuals with autism

Keats, Kayla M. (2014) Factors influencing perceptions of individuals with autism. Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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There has been an increase in media accounts of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) being the targets of discriminatory attacks. With ASD being the most recognizable developmental disorder in North America, these attacks attract considerable attention. The current study investigated whether the age or sex of an individual with ASD influenced how negatively or positively he/she was perceived by others. It also examined whether perceptions were influenced by the presence of a diagnostic label. A 12-item questionnaire was created to measure how participants perceived an individual described in a brief scenario. The questionnaire was completed online by 286 participants with a mean age of 27.84 years. There was a significant main effect of the presence of a diagnostic label on perception scores; when no label was given, participants perceived the described individual significantly more negatively than when a label of autism was present. There was also a significant interaction between age and sex of character on perception scores. Specifically, there were no significant effects of age on perceptions when the individual described in the scenario was male. However, females were perceived significantly less negatively as children than as adults. These results can help us gain a better idea of which factors influence how others perceive those with ASD, and can be a first step towards eliminating negative perceptions.

Item Type: Other
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8413
Item ID: 8413
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 31-35).
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Psychology
Date: 2014
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Autism spectrum disorders--Public opinion; Discrimination against people with disabilities; Autistic people--Public opinion

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