Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 3380–3391 | Cite as

A Scoping Review of Health Disparities in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Original Paper


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience increased morbidity and decreased life expectancy compared to the general population, and these disparities are likely exacerbated for those individuals who are otherwise disadvantaged. We conducted a review to ascertain what is known about health and health system quality (e.g., high quality care delivery, adequate care access) disparities in ASD. Nine studies met final inclusion criteria. Seven studies identified racial disparities in access to general medical services for children with ASD. No studies examined disparities in health outcomes or included older adults. We present a model of health disparities (Fundamental Causes Model) that guides future research. Additional work should examine health disparities, and their causal pathways, in ASD, particularly for older adults.


Health Morbidity Costs Disparities Race Ethnicity 



This project was supported by awards from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01MD010243 [PI Kind]) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U54 HD090256 [PI Messing]; T32HD007489 [PI Mailick]) of the National Institutes of Health. This material is the result of work also supported with the resources and the use of facilities at the William S Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center in Madison, WI, the University of Wisconsin Department of Medicine, and the Waisman Center. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health nor the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Author Contributions

LBF conceptualized the manuscript and research questions, performed the initial article search, reviewed all articles identified by the search, wrote the initial draft of the manuscript, and revised the manuscript to address reviewer comments. AJHK participated in the formulation of the research questions, helped to finalize the list of included studies, and participated in the manuscript development and revisions.


Lauren Bishop-Fitzpatrick has received research funding from Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health. Amy J. H. Kind has received research support from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Geriatrics, Department of MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA
  4. 4.VA Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)MadisonUSA

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