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Open AccessArticle

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Prenatal Genetic Testing and Abortion Decision-Making among Taiwanese Mothers of Affected Children

1
Psychology Department, The University of Texas Permian Basin, Odessa, TX 79762, USA
2
Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
3
Department of Special Education, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
4
Department of Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
5
Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA;
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020476
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 3 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 11 January 2020
With the rapid growing rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), prenatal genetic testing (PGT) has been offered to detect various genomic disorders, including ASD, in Taiwan. However, disparities exist in this area, as there is limited research on factors associated with PGT utilization and relevant decision-making that may guide the regulations and ethical guidelines for culturally appropriate PGT services in Taiwan. This study proposed a comprehensively integrated theoretical framework for examining the intention to undergo PGT to detect ASD susceptibility genes and subsequent abortion decision-making among Taiwanese mothers of children affected by ASD. Survey data from 333 mothers of children with ASD in 236 elementary schools with special education services in Taiwan were collected and analyzed using structural equation modeling. Approximately two-thirds of the participants (66.6%) would undergo PGT to detect ASD susceptibility genes; more than half (53.1%) would terminate the hypothetically ASD-affected pregnancy. Abortion intention was associated with age, religion, attitudes toward PGT for detecting ASD susceptibility genes, and willingness to undergo such PGT. This study explores the potential impacts of PGT on Taiwanese society, and the findings are applicable to countries heavily influenced by Chinese culture, areas with Asian immigrants, and Western countries with such PGT services and/or research available. View Full-Text
Keywords: abortion; autism spectrum disorders; mothers; prenatal genetic testing; structural equation modeling; Taiwan; termination of pregnancy abortion; autism spectrum disorders; mothers; prenatal genetic testing; structural equation modeling; Taiwan; termination of pregnancy
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Chen, W.-J.; Zhao, S.; Huang, T.-Y.; Kwok, O.-M.; Chen, L.-S. Autism Spectrum Disorders: Prenatal Genetic Testing and Abortion Decision-Making among Taiwanese Mothers of Affected Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 476.

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