Information Avoidance and Information Seeking Among Parents of Children with ASD

17 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019

See all articles by Nachum Sicherman

Nachum Sicherman

Columbia University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kiely Law

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Paul Lipkin

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

George Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Alison Marvin

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Joseph D. Buxbaum

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Department of Psychiatry; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment; James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Mental Health Care Center

Date Written: July 5, 2019

Abstract

Objective: The goal of this study was to estimate the effects of information avoidance and information seeking among parents of children diagnosed with ASD on the age of diagnosis.

Methods: An online survey was completed by a random sample of 1,815 parents of children diagnosed with ASD, recruited from the Interactive Research Network (IAN) database. Along with demographic information, including ethnicity, education, household income, and urban/rural residence, parents were asked several questions with the goal of classifying them as having tendencies to either avoid or seek out information. We also collected information from parents about whether they expressed concerns to healthcare professionals, and, if so, about how these professionals responded. We estimate the effects of information avoidance and information seeking on the age of diagnosis using regression analyses, controlling for demographics as well as the presence and severity of different symptoms.

Results: Children of parents who report that, at some level, they preferred “not to know,” are diagnosed around 3 months later than other children. Children of parents who raise concerns perceived to have been dealt with adequately are diagnosed about 4 months earlier, while children of parents who report having been ignored or dealt with inadequately are diagnosed about 8 months later.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that failure of educational and healthcare professionals, in either substituting for the parents when they avoid information, or supporting them when they seek information, can significantly delay the age of diagnosis in children with ASD.

Keywords: ASD, early diagnosis, information avoidance, age of diagnosis, autism

JEL Classification: L12, D03, D83

Suggested Citation

Sicherman, Nachum and Law, Kiely and Lipkin, Paul and Loewenstein, George F. and Marvin, Alison and Buxbaum, Joseph D., Information Avoidance and Information Seeking Among Parents of Children with ASD (July 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3415679 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3415679

Nachum Sicherman (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-4464 (Phone)
212-316-9355 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Kiely Law

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ( email )

MD

Paul Lipkin

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ( email )

MD

George F. Loewenstein

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-8787 (Phone)
412-268-6938 (Fax)

Alison Marvin

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine ( email )

MD

Joseph D. Buxbaum

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Department of Psychiatry

New York, NY 10025
United States

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences

1425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029
United States

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology

1425 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10029
United States

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment

New York City, NY
United States

James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center - Mental Health Care Center

Bronx, NY
United States

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