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Article

Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Etiology among Parents of Children with ASD

1
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas Permian Basin, Odessa, TX 79762, USA
2
Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
3
Health Sciences Center, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
4
Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6774; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136774
Received: 25 May 2021 / Revised: 18 June 2021 / Accepted: 22 June 2021 / Published: 24 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders)
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social communication deficits and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Parental perceptions of the etiology of their child’s ASD can affect provider–client relationships, bonding between parents and their children, and the prognosis, treatment, and management of children with ASD. Thus, this study sought to examine the perceptions of ASD etiology of parents of children with ASD. Methods: Forty-two parents of children diagnosed with ASD were recruited across Texas. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually. All interviews were recorded and later transcribed verbatim for content analysis utilizing NVivo 12.0 (QSR International, Doncaster, Australia). Results: The content analysis identified the following themes regarding parental perceptions of ASD etiology: Genetic factors (40.5%), environmental factors (31.0%), problems that occurred during pregnancy or delivery (23.8%), vaccinations (16.7%), other health problems (7.1%), parental age at the time of pregnancy (4.8%), and spiritual or religious factors (2.4%). Conclusions: The parental perceptions of ASD etiology were diverse, but several views, such as vaccinations and spiritual or religious factors, were not based on scientific evidence. Health professionals and researchers can use these findings to develop and provide targeted education to parents who have children with ASD. Our findings also support policymakers in developing campaigns designed to increase parental ASD awareness and knowledge. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; parents; perceptions; etiology autism spectrum disorder; parents; perceptions; etiology
MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, W.-J.; Zhang, Z.; Wang, H.; Tseng, T.-S.; Ma, P.; Chen, L.-S. Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Etiology among Parents of Children with ASD. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 6774. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136774

AMA Style

Chen W-J, Zhang Z, Wang H, Tseng T-S, Ma P, Chen L-S. Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Etiology among Parents of Children with ASD. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(13):6774. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136774

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Wei-Ju, Zihan Zhang, Haocen Wang, Tung-Sung Tseng, Ping Ma, and Lei-Shih Chen. 2021. "Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Etiology among Parents of Children with ASD" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 13: 6774. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136774

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