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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia Southern: Researchers Look at Factors Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Doctoral students and faculty in the Department of Biostatistics at the Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health examined factors associated with childhood autism spectrum disorders (ASD) based on the National Survey of Children’s Health. The National Survey of Children’s Health is a cross-sectional survey of parents’ report of their child health conditions. We performed a secondary analysis of this survey data to determine the association between parent-reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and possible risk factors. The logistic regression model for complex survey data was applied. Results found that child health, health insurance, and family health and activities were significantly associated with ASD diagnosis.

Specifically, the odds of reporting autism spectrum disorder for children with history of anxiety disorder is seven times higher than that of those without; the odds of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is 45 percent and 36 percent less in children uninsured and those privately-insured compared to those publicly insured. Additionally, children whose primary language was Spanish have reduced odds of 50 percent. Our study highlights associated factors of childhood ASD and as such it can be used as a stepping stone for future studies, especially cohort studies to validate the direction of important associations.

Identifying factors associated with autism spectrum disorder based on a comprehensive national survey” was published in International Journal of Child and Adolescent Health.