Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 3199–3209 | Cite as

Parent Perceptions of Community Autism Spectrum Disorder Stigma: Measure Validation and Associations in a Multi-site Sample

  • Katharine E. Zuckerman
  • Olivia J. Lindly
  • Nuri M. Reyes
  • Alison E. Chavez
  • Maritza Cobian
  • Kristy Macias
  • Ann M. Reynolds
  • Kathryn A. Smith
Original Paper


In this study we developed a brief, English/Spanish bilingual parent-reported scale of perceived community autism spectrum disorder (ASD) stigma and tested it in a multi-site sample of Latino and non-Latino white parents of children with ASD. Confirmatory factor analysis of the scale supported a single factor solution with 8 items showing good internal consistency. Regression modeling suggested that stigma score was associated with unmet ASD care needs but not therapy hours or therapy types. Child public insurance, parent nativity, number of children with ASD in the household, parent-reported ASD severity, and family structure, were associated with higher stigma score. The scale and the scale’s associations with service use may be useful to those attempting to measure or reduce ASD stigma.


Autism spectrum disorder Stigma Mental health services Developmental disability Healthcare disparities Health care surveys 


Author Contributions

KEZ conceived of the study, supervised all aspects of the study, and drafted the manuscript. OJL lead the study data analysis and assisted with drafting the manuscript. AEC participated in study design and data collection, and assisted with data analysis and drafting the manuscript. KAS, AMR, KM, and NMR all contributed to study design and data collection, and critically reviewed the final manuscript. MC contributed to data collection and critically reviewed the final manuscript.


This study was funded by Grant K23MH095828 from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health; Dr. Lindly’s effort was partially funded by T32HS000063 from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Drs. Zuckerman, Lindly, Reyes, Reynolds, and Smith have declared that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Ms. Chavez, Ms. Cobian, and Ms. Macias also have declared that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. As the project was deemed minimal risk, the IRB allowed an information sheet to serve as the consent document, and consent was implied by completion of the survey.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3586_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Pediatrics, Doernbecher Children’s HospitalOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Health & Science University – Portland State University School of Public HealthPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and PediatricsUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Clinical PsychologyPacific UniversityHillsboroUSA
  6. 6.Department of Pediatrics, Los Angeles Children’s HospitalUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  7. 7.University of Southern California University Center for Excellence in Developmental DisabilitiesLos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  9. 9.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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