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Understanding stigma in autism: a narrative review and theoretical model

Turnock, Alice, Langley, Kate ORCID: and Jones, Catherine R.G. ORCID: 2022. Understanding stigma in autism: a narrative review and theoretical model. Autism in Adulthood 4 (1) , pp. 76-91. 10.1089/aut.2021.0005

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The experience of stigma by autistic people is relatively understudied, despite contributing to a range of poor outcomes and having an overarching impact on well-being. The current review of the literature synthesizes research to determine what is currently known and presents a theoretical model of autism stigma. Autism stigma is primarily influenced by a public and professional understanding of autism in combination with interpretation of visible autistic traits. Moderating factors include the quality and quantity of contact with autistic people, cultural factors, sex and gender, individual differences, and diagnostic disclosure. Stigma can reduce well-being as well as increase the presence of camouflaging behaviors, which mask autistic traits. Caregivers of autistic people can experience stigma by association, that is, affiliate stigma, which can impact their own well-being. A variety of interventions and approaches to reduce stigma are discussed, including “autism friendly” spaces, positive media representation, educational and psychosocial training for the public and professionals, as well as cultural and systemic shifts that foster inclusivity and recognize neurodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN: 2573-9581
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 December 2021
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 22:16

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