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Brief Reports   |    
Health Care Experiences and Perceived Financial Impact Among Families of Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Benjamin Zablotsky, Ph.D.; Luther G. Kalb, M.H.S.; Brian Freedman, Ph.D.; Roma Vasa, M.D.; Elizabeth A. Stuart, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200552
View Author and Article Information

Dr. Zablotsky, Mr. Kalb, and Dr. Stuart are with the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore (e-mail: bzablots@jhsph.edu), where Dr. Stuart is also with the Department of Biostatistics. Dr. Freedman is with the Center for Disability Studies, University of Delaware, Newark. Dr. Vasa is with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Objective  The authors compared the health care experiences of families raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), an intellectual disability disorder (IDD), or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Methods  Children with a current diagnosis of ASD (N=3,005), ADHD (N=9,662), or IDD (N=949) were identified in the 2009–2010 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs. Weighted structural equation modeling was used to determine the association between family satisfaction with medical care, timeliness of care, and medical insurance coverage and the impact of the child’s condition on the family’s financial situation.

Results  Families of children diagnosed as having ASD comorbid with either ADHD or IDD or comorbid with both conditions reported the highest levels of dissatisfaction across all health care quality variables and experienced the greatest impact on the family’s financial situation.

Conclusions  The findings underscore the need for comprehensive and accessible health care services for children with ASD, particularly those with comorbid conditions.

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Figure 1 Structural equation model of the relationship between health care variables and impact on financial situation of parents of children with ASD, ADHD, or IDDa

aChildren with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also may have had a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability disorder (IDD), or both.

*p<.001

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