Implications of cultural mistrust on diagnosis and services for students with autism
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The purpose of the proposed study was to examine whether the level of cultural mistrust differed between Caucasians and minorities and to explore how a number of variables including, cultural mistrust, race, income, and level of education impact parents' agreement with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, their willingness to accept services for their child, and their comfort level with asking for additional services for their child. One hundred thirty-seven parents were assigned to one of two surveys, depending on their race (Caucasian or Minority version). The surveys varied slightly due to alteration in the wording of questions. An ANOVA was conducted to investigate differences in levels of cultural mistrust between minority and Caucasian parents. Results indicated that minority parents' scores on the Cultural Mistrust Inventory (CMI) were statistically significantly higher than Caucasian parents' scores. Then, a factorial MANOVA was performed to examine whether the demographic variables of race, income, and level of education, along with cultural mistrust, influenced how parents reported agreeing with a diagnosis of Autism, acceptance of services offered to their child, and comfort level with asking for additional services. Subsequently, post-hoc ANOVAS were conducted on each of the dependent variables to gain insight into the impact of the statistically significant independent variables. Results showed a main effect for race and an interaction effect for race and cultural mistrust, specifically on the third dependent variable (comfort level with asking for additional services). Minorities were not comfortable asking for additional services, regardless of their level of cultural mistrust. Conversely, cultural mistrust did impact Caucasian's comfort level with asking for services. White parents with a moderate level of cultural mistrust were less comfortable asking for additional services. These results provide information about differences in cultural mistrust between minorities and Caucasians. The current study is the first known to investigate cultural mistrust in Caucasians; thus, highlighting an area of future research. Furthermore, school psychologists can apply these results to promote positive relationships with minority parents and increase their comfort level in advocating for their children with ASD.