People with autism tend to have difficulties with the social relationships in the workplace, which are a crucial aspect to maintaining employment. In this study, we investigated whether disclosure of an autism spectrum disorder would improve adults’ attitudes toward a potential coworker with autism. Participants (93 college students, 93 working adults) were randomly assigned to read one of three vignettes describing the same interaction with a potential coworker with moderately severe ASD, but different levels of disclosure. As hypothesized, disclosure, as compared to no disclosure, led significantly more positive attitudes toward and higher willingness to work with the coworker. Disclosure significantly increased positive judgments of the coworker’s warmth, although it had no significant impact on judgments of the coworker’s competence. This research indicates that disclosure of autism to coworkers may be beneficial in improving attitudes toward people with autism, which could ultimately improve working relationships of those with autism.
Henegan, Kathleen M., "Effects of Explanatory Autism Disclosure on Coworker Attitudes" (2010). Honors Projects. Paper 138.