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Title: Dispelling the so-called “Down syndrome advantage”: Assessing the presence of public stigma for mothers of children with intellectual disabilities
Authors: Terrett, Alice
Advisors: Spokas, Megan
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Mothers of children with intellectual disabilities face increased levels of negative psychological factors when compared to mothers of typically developing children due mostly to an increased child caretaking burden. A relationship in the literature has unfolded known as the “autism disadvantage” and “Down syndrome advantage,” in which mothers of children with Down syndrome are seen to suffer less negative psychological effects when compared to mothers of children with autism. While the literature has uncovered many of the predictors and potential buffering effects in the development of negative psychological well-being, little research has examined the role of affiliate stigma—the self-stigmatization that occurs in family members of children with intellectual disabilities—or public perceptions of mothers of children with intellectual disabilities. The present study seeks to frame the “autism disadvantage” and “Down syndrome advantage” relationship in the context of public stigma, as stigma directed toward mothers may indeed be internalized and predict greater depressive symptomologies and emotional distress. In a social context of a child presenting with disruptive behavior, results indicate that due to the invisible nature of autism, public stigma may be greater for mothers of children with autism when compared to mothers of children with Down syndrome, contributing to the known “autism disadvantage” discussed in the scientific community.
Extent: 68 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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