A Disorder by Any Other Name: The Comparative Effects of Asperger's Disorder vs. Autism Spectrum Disorder Labels on Public Attitudes
The Asperger's Disorder diagnosis has been removed from the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and individuals with symptoms of Asperger's Disorder have now been reclassified under the umbrella diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which now encompasses a broad range of severity and symptoms. This change has caused concern among the Asperger's Disorder community about the possible negative impacts of being labeled as having Autism Spectrum Disorder. This study examined and compared public attitudes towards and perceptions of the two labels. Small but significant differences in social distance and perceptions were found between the two labels, with Asperger's Disorder being more positively regarded. Furthermore, respondents considered Autism Spectrum Disorder to be a more stigmatizing or negative label. Participant level of familiarity with individuals carrying either label predicted reduced negative attitudes. Implications and suggestions for further research and intervention are discussed.
Reich, Joseph, "A Disorder by Any Other Name: The Comparative Effects of Asperger's Disorder vs. Autism Spectrum Disorder Labels on Public Attitudes" (2018). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI13830197.
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