The influence of media suggestions about links between criminality and autism spectrum disorder

Neil Brewer, Jordana Zoanetti, Robyn Young

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We examined whether media reports linking criminal behaviour and autism spectrum disorder foster negative attitudes towards individuals with autism spectrum disorder. In a between-subjects design, participants were exposed to (a) a media story in which a murderer was labelled with autism spectrum disorder (media exposure condition) or not labelled with any disorder (control) and (b) an autism spectrum disorder-education condition attacking the myth that people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder are likely to be violent criminals or a no-autism spectrum disorder-education condition. Participants attitudes towards three different crime perpetrators (one with autism spectrum disorder) described in separate vignettes were probed. The media exposure linking crime and autism spectrum disorder promoted more negative attitudes towards individuals with autism spectrum disorder, whereas the positive autism spectrum disorder-related educational message had the opposite effect.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)117-121
    Number of pages5
    JournalAutism
    Volume21
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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