Understanding psychiatrists' knowledge, attitudes and experiences in identifying and supporting their patients on the autism spectrum: online survey

Laura Crane, Ian Davidson, Rachel Prosser, Elizabeth Pellicano

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
    5 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Psychiatrists play a critical role in identifying and supporting their patients on the autism spectrum in the UK, yet little is known about their knowledge, attitudes and experiences in this regard.

    AIMS: To understand psychiatrists' experiences of working with autistic individuals, their confidence in making diagnostic/management decisions and the factors that affect such decisions.

    METHOD: A total of 172 psychiatrists took part in an online self-report survey.

    RESULTS: Most psychiatrists reported receiving useful training on autism and were knowledgeable about the condition, particularly those with a personal connection to autism. Higher confidence in working with autistic patients was linked to greater levels of autism knowledge, experience and training. Several systemic and autism-specific factors were highlighted by psychiatrists, which were felt to challenge their ability to provide effective care and support for their patients on the autism spectrum.

    CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatrists' views corroborated previous research with the autism community, highlighting the need to co-design services that are accessible, respectful and person-centred.

    DECLARATION OF INTEREST: I.D. is the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Autism Champion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere33
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalBJPsych Open
    Volume5
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • autism
    • psychiatrist
    • diagnosis
    • identification
    • self-efficacy

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