Factors underlying cross-cultural differences in stigma toward autism among college students in Lebanon and the United States

Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, Nidal Daou, Maria-Jose Sanchez-Ruiz, Steven K. Kapp, Rita Obeid, Patricia J. Brooks, Fumio Someki, Nava Silton, Rudy Abi-Habib

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Abstract

Although stigma negatively impacts autistic people globally, the degree of stigma varies across cultures. Prior research suggests that stigma may be higher in cultures with more collectivistic orientations. This study aimed to identify cultural values and other individual differences that contribute to cross-cultural differences in autism stigma (assessed with a social distance scale) between college students in Lebanon (n = 556) and those in the United States (n = 520). Replicating prior work, stigma was lower in women than men and in the United States relative to Lebanon. Heightened autism knowledge, quality of contact with autistic people, openness to experience, and reduced acceptance of inequality predicted lower stigma. Collectivism was not associated with heightened stigma. Findings highlight the need to address structural inequalities, combat harmful misconceptions, and foster positive contact to combat stigma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1993-2006
Number of pages14
JournalAutism
Volume23
Issue number8
Early online date3 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • autism
  • contact
  • cross-cultural
  • knowledge
  • stigma
  • training

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