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Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic

Ka-Yuet Liu; Marissa King; Peter Shawn Bearman

Title:
Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic
Author(s):
Liu, Ka-Yuet
King, Marissa
Bearman, Peter Shawn
Date:
Type:
Articles
Department(s):
Sociology
Volume:
115
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
American Journal of Sociology
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Abstract:
Despite a plethora of studies, we do not know why autism incidence has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Using California data, this study shows that children living very close to a child previously diagnosed with autism are more likely to be diagnosed with autism. An underlying social influence mechanism involving information diffusion drives this result, contributing to 16% of the increase in prevalence over 2000–2005. We eliminate competing explanations (i.e., residential sorting, environmental toxicants, and viral transmission) through seven tests and show that information diffusion simultaneously contributed to the increased prevalence, spatial clustering, and decreasing age of diagnosis.
Subject(s):
Sociology
Epidemiology
Publisher DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1086/651448
Item views
215
Metadata:
text | xml
Suggested Citation:
Ka-Yuet Liu, Marissa King, Peter Shawn Bearman, , Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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