Autism Alertness and Psychiatric Stigma in Dutch Physicians Screening in the Child General Population

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
M. van 't Hof1,2, I. A. van Berckelaer-Onnes3, M. C. Neukerk4, A. Daniels5, H. W. Hoek6,7,8 and W. A. Ester2,9, (1)Sarr Expert Centre for Autism, Lucertis Child- & Adolecent Psychiatry, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (2)Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague, Netherlands, (3)Faculty of Social Sciences, Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, (4)Sarr Expert Centre for Autism, Lucertis Child and Adolescence Psychiatry, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (5)Simons Foundation, New York, NY, (6)Parnassia Academy, Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, Den Haag, Netherlands, (7)Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen - University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, (8)Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, (9)Sarr Expert Centre for Autism, Lucertis Child- & Adolecent Psychiatry, Rotterdam, Netherlands, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Background: Stigmatizing beliefs and lacking mental health knowledge can delay the diagnostic process of autism by health professionals.

Objectives: The aim of the study is to evaluate the level of ASD alertness in Dutch physicians screening for autism in the child general population.

Methods: In a cohort of 93 Dutch Youth and Family Centre (YFC) physicians, we administered the Community Attitudes to Mental Illness (CAMI) questionnaire, an ASD knowledge test and demographic questionnaires.

Results: Results show that Dutch YFC physicians have a positive attitude towards persons with mental illness (CAMI 1-5 Likert scale, mean ranging from 2.18-2.22), sufficient general autism and low levels of specific autism knowledge (ASD knowledge test, scores 1(low)-10 (high): general: 7.1; specific 5.7). The level of psychiatric stigma was unrelated to the level of autism knowledge and other demographic variables.

Conclusions: Psychiatric stigma and autism knowledge are points of concern in physicians screening for autism in the general population. Research elucidating the relation between psychiatric stigma, ASD knowledge and the early detection of autism in health professionals is needed.