Children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are inherently more vulnerable to stigma in ways that children without this diagnosis are. The current study was an experimental study in which attitudes towards children with and without Autism were measured through a vignette along with an attribution questionnaire. The purpose of the questionnaire, modified from Ling, Mak, & Cheng (2010) was to analyze peoples’ perceptions about the actions of children with and without Autism. The questionnaire examined sympathy, helping behavioral intention, punitive behavioral intention, perceived controllability, and anger. Disability status was defined as the first independent variable, with gender being defined as the second independent variable. The current study hypothesized that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder would experience more stigma when eliciting negative behaviors than children without a mental disability would. Secondly, it was hypothesized that gender would be impactful, such that boys would experience more stigma than girls. Therefore, it was hypothesized that boys with Autism Spectrum disorder would be the most stigmatized group out of the four groups in the study. The design of the study was a 2 (Participant Gender: Men vs Women) X 2 (Target Gender: Boy vs Girl) X 2 (Disability Status: ASD vs No ASD) factorial design. Participant gender and contact history were analyzed as supplemental variables.


Garcia, Amber




Social Psychology


stigma, autism spectrum disorder, stereotypes, attribution theory, stereotype content model

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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