Date of Graduation

Fall 8-9-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Dellanira Garcia, PhD

Second Advisor

Evelyn Ibatan Rodriguez, PhD

Third Advisor

Emma Salzman, PsyD


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become more widely understood and accepted by the general and professional populations. However, self and social stigma related to ASD persist and continue to negatively impact help-seeking behaviors. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews guided by an ecological systems model, to explore the lived experiences of 11 Asian American (AsAm) parents residing in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with a child with ASD. A thematic analysis framework was utilized. A total of six themes and six subthemes emerged from this study and included: (1) comparisons, (2) stigma, (3) resilience, (4) support for services, (5) needs for AsAm parents and their children, and (6) advice to other AsAm parents. One subtheme of cultural perceptions was generated for comparisons. The remaining five subthemes of denial, fear, language, isolation, and hopelessness were generated under stigma. Cultural perceptions of child development and behavior contributed to AsAm parents’ understanding of atypical development and ASD, particularly when making comparisons of their child within their microsystem and exosystem. Social stigma endorsed in the microsystem and exosystem was often attributed to behaviors viewed as disdain within the AsAm community, increasing endorsement of self-stigma amongst AsAm parents for raising a child with ASD; thus, impacting help-seeking behaviors. A positive support system amongst nuclear family members, extended kinship, and support professionals mitigated the negative consequences of stigma and contributed to participants' engagement in help-seeking behaviors. Implications for this study include guidance for professionals in providing culturally responsive services to this hard-to-reach population.