Health communication: A pilot study comparing perceptions of women with and without high functioning autism spectrum disorder

Lum, Michelle, Garnett, Michelle, & O'Connor, Erin (2014) Health communication: A pilot study comparing perceptions of women with and without high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(12), pp. 1713-1721.

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Research indicates significant health disparities for individuals with autism. Insight into characteristic sensory, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, and behavioural challenges that may influence health communication for patients with autism is vital to address potential disparities. Women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have specific healthcare needs, and are likely to independently represent themselves and others in healthcare. A pilot study compared perceptions of healthcare experiences for women with and without ASD using on-line survey based on characteristics of ASD likely to influence healthcare. Fifty-eight adult female participants (32 with ASD diagnosis, 26 without ASD diagnosis) were recruited on-line from autism support organisations. Perceptions measured included self-reporting of pain and symptoms, healthcare seeking behaviours, the influence of emotional distress, sensory and social anxiety, maternity experiences, and the influence of autistic status disclosure. Results partially support the hypothesis that ASD women experience greater healthcare challenges. Women with ASD reported greater challenges in healthcare anxiety, communication under emotional distress, anxiety relating to waiting rooms, support during pregnancy, and communication during childbirth. Self-disclosure of diagnostic status and lack of ASD awareness by healthcare providers rated as highly problematic. Results offer detailed insight into healthcare communication and disparities for women with ASD.

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ID Code: 79943
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: High functioning autism, Communication, Healthcare, Stigma, Women
DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.09.009
ISSN: 1750-9467
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 8, Issue 12, December 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2014.09.009
Deposited On: 12 Jan 2015 22:53
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2017 02:54

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