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Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 1301–1308 | Cite as

Autism awareness and attitudes towards treatment in caregivers of children aged 3–6 years in Harbin, China

  • Jia Wang
  • Xue Zhou
  • Wei Xia
  • CaiHong Sun
  • LiJie WuEmail author
  • JianLi Wang
Original Paper

Abstract

Objective

To (1) estimate the proportion of people in the community who could correctly recognize autism spectrum disorders (ASD); (2) describe the attitudes towards various treatments for ASD; and (3) identify factors associated with ASD recognition.

Methods

A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in Harbin, China (n = 4,947). We estimated the proportions of participants who were at different levels of knowledge about ASD and of their attitudes towards mental health service use. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to identify factors associated with the recognition of ASD.

Results

Overall, 2,786 (57.8%) of the respondents could recognize the ASD. Recognition of autism depended on gender, residing areas, age and educational levels. With respect to the attitudes towards mental health service use for ASD, 4,007 respondents (84.6%) chose to visit a health organization for treatment; 2,470 (68.2%) made the choice of consulting a psychotherapist.

Conclusions

There is a large room for improvement in awareness about ASD and treatment in the Chinese communities. Insufficient knowledge about ASD and inappropriate attitudes towards mental health service use may impede the efforts of early identification and intervention. Health education and promotion are needed to improve people’s knowledge about ASD and available mental health services.

Keywords

Awareness Attitudes Autism spectrum disorders Caregivers 

Abbreviations

ASD

Autism spectrum disorders

OR

Odds ratio

CI

Confidence interval

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Harbin Women and Children’s Hospital and Health Institute as well as all the collaborating institutions. We also thank all of the people who participated in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jia Wang
    • 1
  • Xue Zhou
    • 1
  • Wei Xia
    • 1
  • CaiHong Sun
    • 1
  • LiJie Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • JianLi Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Children’s and Adolescent HealthPublic Health College of Harbin Medical UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Departments of Psychiatry and of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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