Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 11, pp 3520–3536 | Cite as

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Knowledge and Stigma Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder Among College Students in Lebanon and the United States

  • Rita ObeidEmail author
  • Nidal Daou
  • Danielle DeNigris
  • Christina Shane-Simpson
  • Patricia J. Brooks
  • Kristen Gillespie-Lynch
Original Paper


Although misconceptions associated with ASD are apparent worldwide, they may differ across cultures. This study compares knowledge and stigma associated with ASD in a country with limited autism resources, Lebanon, and a country with substantial autism resources, the United States (US). College students in the US (N = 346) and Lebanon (N = 329) completed assessments of knowledge and stigma associated with ASD before and after an online ASD training. Although students in the US exhibited higher overall knowledge and lower stigma towards ASD, certain misconceptions were more apparent in the US than in Lebanon. Participation in the training was associated with decreased stigma and increased knowledge in both countries. Thus, online training may be useful for increasing understanding about ASD internationally.


Stigma Knowledge ASD Online training Cross-cultural Lebanon 



We would like to thank all the people who participated in this training and contributed their insights to this paper. We are grateful to Fumio Someki, Steven Kapp, Christopher Cruz-Cullari, Dennis Bublitz and Joanne D’Onofrio for feedback on study materials. We thank David Rindskopf and Seamus Donnelly for their statistical consultation. The last author initially conceived of this study, played a guiding role throughout the course of the study and contributed substantially to the writing of this manuscript. This study was funded by CUNY Project REACH (Resources and Education on Autism as CUNY’s Hallmark) and the Far Fund.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita Obeid
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nidal Daou
    • 2
  • Danielle DeNigris
    • 1
  • Christina Shane-Simpson
    • 1
  • Patricia J. Brooks
    • 1
  • Kristen Gillespie-Lynch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, The Graduate Center and College of Staten IslandCUNYNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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