The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Diagnostic Process in Autism: A Comparison of Latina and European American Mothers Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Ratto, Allison Bassett
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased rapidly over the past three decades, research on the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder has advanced considerably. However, the role of culture in ASD has been largely neglected in research. The present study evaluated the implications of cultural factors for ASD screening and diagnosis by examining the parenting perceptions and diagnostic experiences of 28 Latina and 28 European American mothers of children with ASD. The children of Latina mothers were found to have significantly later ages at diagnosis, despite having similar ages at the time when mothers first developed concerns about their child. However, household income emerged as the strongest predictor of the child's age at diagnosis. Latina mothers demonstrated significantly less knowledge of developmental milestones and of ASD, and knowledge of ASD was found to be significantly correlated with the time between mothers' first concerns and child's age at diagnosis. There were no significant differences in mothers' responses to measures of their child's ASD symptomology, but Latina mothers were significantly more likely to report early concerns about temperament. The results of this study suggest that both socioeconomic and culturally-based differences likely influence the early perception and diagnosis of ASD.  
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Reznick, J. Steven
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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