Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia N. Gragg

Keywords

Psychology, Education, Acceptance, Autism, Cognitive representations, Self-regulation model of illness behavior, Treatment selection

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to identify the relations between nine dimensions of parents' cognitive representations of ASD, their acceptance of their children's ASD, and their treatment selection for their children with ASD. Parents of children with ASD aged 21 years and younger ( N = 124) completed an online survey, with 10 of those parents completing telephone follow-up interviews. Logistic regression analyses revealed that stronger beliefs in personal control over one's child's ASD were associated with selection of medication-based treatments, while stronger beliefs in external causes of ASD were associated with selection of metabolic treatments. Correlation analyses also revealed that lower levels of acceptance were associated with selecting greater numbers of treatments, regardless of empirical support. Results suggest that programs aiming to increase parents' acceptance and teach parents to be more "research savvy" may help promote selection of evidence-based treatments for children with ASD.

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