Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Relationship Between Autism Stigma and Informal Caregiver Mental Health

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102321-1


The relationship between autism stigma and informal caregiver mental health refers to the negative psychological consequences for informal caregivers when autism stigma is experienced. This has been evidenced to include depression, anxiety, psychological distress and well-being, psychological burden, and general mental health. “Autism stigma” refers to the negative social labeling and stereotyping ascribed by members of the general public toward autistic people (“public stigma” or “social stigma”) and/or their family and close associates (“courtesy stigma,” “associative stigma,” or “family stigma”). Autism stigma may also originate from health, social, educational, or legal professionals (“professional stigma” or “structural stigma”). “Self-stigma” (or “internalized stigma”) refers to autistic people accepting, agreeing, and incorporating negative stereotypes about autism into their own psychological identity. “Affiliate stigma” is a form of self-stigma. It occurs when...

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References and Reading

  1. Mak, W. W., & Cheung, R. Y. M. (2008). Affiliate stigma among caregivers of people with intellectual disability or mental illness. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21(6), 532–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Papadopoulos, C. (2016a). Self-stigma among carers of autistic people. Network Autism. https://network.autism.org.uk/good-practice/evidence-base/self-stigma-among-carers-autistic-people
  3. Papadopoulos, C. (2016b). Autism stigma and the role of ethnicity and culture. Network Autism. https://network.autism.org.uk/knowledge/insight-opinion/autism-stigma-and-role-ethnicity-and-culture
  4. Papadopoulos, C., Lodder, A., Constantinou, G., & Randhawa, G. (2018). Systematic review of the relationship between autism stigma and informal caregiver mental health. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(4), 1665–1685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Bedfordshire | Luton CampusLutonUK