College Students’ Perceptions of Peers with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Little is known about peer attitudes toward college students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Affective, behavioral, and cognitive attitudes toward vignette characters displaying behaviors characteristic of ASD were examined among 224 four-year university students who were randomly assigned to one of three labeling conditions for the primary vignette characters: high functioning autism (HFA), typical college student, or no label. Students in the HFA label condition reported more positive behavioral and cognitive attitudes toward the vignette characters than students in the no label condition. Male students and students with lower scores on the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire reported more positive attitudes across study conditions. These experimental results suggest that knowledge of a diagnosis might improve attitudes toward college students with ASD.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Postsecondary education Peer attitudes Young adults
We thank the University of California, Irvine Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program for financial support of this project. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions made by Kent Chiu, Rob Haghighi, and Lesley Lai to data collection and coding. We also thank the college students who participated in this study.
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