Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 127–138 | Cite as

Predictors of Age of Diagnosis for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of a Consistent Source of Medical Care, Race, and Condition Severity

  • Natacha D. EmersonEmail author
  • Holly E. R. Morrell
  • Cameron Neece
Original Paper


Having a consistent source of medical care may facilitate diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This study examined predictors of age of ASD diagnosis using data from the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. Using multiple linear regression analysis, age of diagnosis was predicted by race, ASD severity, having a consistent source of care (CSC), and the interaction between these variables after controlling for birth cohort, birth order, poverty level, parental education, and health insurance. While African American children were diagnosed earlier than Caucasians, this effect was moderated by ASD severity and CSC. Having a CSC predicted earlier diagnosis for Caucasian but not African American children. Both physician and parent behaviors may contribute to diagnostic delays in minority children.


Autism spectrum disorders Racial disparities Consistent source of care Diagnosis 


Author Contributions

Mrs. Emerson designed the study, conducted the statistical analysis, analyzed the data, wrote the initial draft of the paper, and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers' comments. Dr. Morrell assisted with manuscript development, provided guidance on statistical analysis, and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers' comments. Dr. Neece assisted with manuscript development, provided guidance on statistical analysis, and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers' comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA

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