Information Avoidance and Information Seeking Among Parents of Children with ASD
17 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 5, 2019
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: Suggested Citation