Knowledge and awareness of autism spectrum disorder among Libyans

Authors

  • Ariej M. Mustafa National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli; Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9678-2243
  • Dhiba Grifa National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli; Psychology and Education Department, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3980-798X
  • Afaf Shebani National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli; Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya
  • Salah Alharabi National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya https://orcid.org/0009-0004-2840-2631
  • Khalid Alnajjar National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya https://orcid.org/0009-0007-6384-9238

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2762

Keywords:

Autism spectrum disorder, awareness, knowledge, Libya

Abstract

Background:  Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the presence of delayed or defective development before the age of three years, as well as behavioral difficulties in social communication and interaction.

Objective: To evaluate ASD knowledge and awareness, as well as ASD information sources in a sample of the Libyan general population, and to explore factors that could be associated with the knowledge and awareness.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out between 22 March and 13 August 2022 using a self-administered questionnaire.

Results: Out of 2195 participants, 48.9% were females and 51.1% were males. Three-quarters of the participants (74.8%) presented a low level of knowledge. Of those whose source of knowledge of autism was social media, 78.9% had a low level of knowledge. However, 57.9% of the participants showed a good level of awareness of autism symptoms and signs.

Conclusion: The participants had a limited understanding of the causes and characteristics of ASD. Raising community awareness of the causes and characteristics of ASD is a priority.

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ariej M. Mustafa, National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli; Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya

National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya. lecture

 Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya. researcher

Afaf Shebani, National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli; Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya

National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya, Assistant Lecture.

 Department of Genetic Engineering, Biotechnology Research Center, Tripoli, Libya, researcher

Salah Alharabi, National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya

National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya, head of Human resources

Khalid Alnajjar, National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya

Head of National Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autistic Children, Tripoli, Libya

References

Udhya J, Varadharaja MM, Parthiban J, Srinivasan I. Autism disorder (AD): An updated review for paediatric dentists. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Feb 3;8(2):275–9.

American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association, editors. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. 947 p. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

Alyami HS, Naser AY, Alyami MH, Alharethi SH, Alyami AM. Knowledge and Attitudes toward Autism Spectrum Disorder in Saudi Arabia. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Mar 1;19(6). DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063648

Muhle R, Trentacoste SV, Rapin I. The genetics of autism. Pediatrics. 2004 May;113(5):e472-486. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.113.5.e472

CDC. Data and Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2023. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

Arif MM, Niazy A, Hassan B, Ahmed F. Awareness of Autism in Primary School Teachers. Autism Res Treat. 2013;2013:1–5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/961595

Autism Spectrum Disorder | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Available from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/autism-spectrum-disorder

Baron-Cohen S, Scott FJ, Allison C, Williams J, Bolton P, Matthews FE, et al. Prevalence of autism-spectrum conditions: UK school-based population study. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;194(6):500–9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.108.059345

Surmen A. A study exploring knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards autism among adults applying to a Family Health Center in Istanbul. North Clin Istanb. 2016; DOI: https://doi.org/10.14744/nci.2015.83723

Ryan CT. Disability Literacy and Attitudes Towards Autism Spectrum Disorders. Univ Conn. 2013;

May T, Sciberras E, Brignell A, Williams K. Autism spectrum disorder: updated prevalence and comparison of two birth cohorts in a nationally representative Australian sample. BMJ Open. 2017 May 9;7(5):e015549. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015549

Jones SC, Akram M, Gordon CS, Murphy N, Sharkie F. Autism in Australia: Community Knowledge and Autistic People’s Experiences. J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Oct;51(10):3677–89. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04819-3

L Y, S S, Aj H. Public knowledge and stigma of autism spectrum disorder: Comparing China with the United States. Autism Int J Res Pract. 2020 Aug; 24(6). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32338539/ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361319900839

Shirelle, S, I Exist, The message from adults with autism in Northern Ireland. The National Autistic society Northern Ireland, (2008). Available from: https://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/results/IExistNI.pdf

durand I. A first national survey of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and autism in France. - Archive ouverte HAL. 2012. Available from: https://hal.science/inserm-00769159/

Al-Sharbati M, Al-Farsi Y, Ouhtit A, Waly M, Al Shafaee M, Al-Farsi O, et al. Awareness about autism among school teachers in Oman: A cross-sectional study. Autism Int J Res Pract. 2013 Oct 22;19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361313508025

Obeid R, Daou N, DeNigris D, Shane-Simpson C, Brooks PJ, Gillespie-Lynch K. A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Knowledge and Stigma Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder Among College Students in Lebanon and the United States. J Autism Dev Disord. 2015 Nov;45(11):3520–36. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2499-1

Alsehemi MA, Abousaadah MM, Sairafi RA, Jan MM. Public awareness of autism spectrum disorder. Neurosci Riyadh Saudi Arab. 2017 Jul;22(3):213–5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17712/nsj.2017.3.20160525

Rouphael M, Gerges P, Andres C, Sacre Y, Bitar T, Hleihel W. Evaluation of the Lebanese Adults’ Knowledge Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Mar 6;20(5):4622. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054622

Golson ME, Benallie KJ, Benney CM, Schwartz SE, McClain MB, Harris B. Current state of autism knowledge in the general population of the United States. Res Autism Spectr Disord. 2022 Feb 1;90:101886. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2021.101886

Rolls K, Massey D. Social media is a source of health-related misinformation. Evid Based Nurs. 2021 Apr;24(2):46. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/ebnurs-2019-103222

World Health Organization. Autism Spectrum Disorders. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/autism-spectrum-disorders

World Health Organization. To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/24-04-2019-to-grow-up-healthy-children-need-to-sit-less-and-play-more

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APA). Media and Children. Available from: https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/media-and-children/

Jeste SS, Geschwind DH. Disentangling the heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorder through genetic findings. Nat Rev Neurol. 2014 Feb;10(2):74–81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrneurol.2013.278

Chaste P, Leboyer M. Autism risk factors: genes, environment, and gene-environment interactions. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2012 Sep;14(3):281–92. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2012.14.3/pchaste

Hermelin B. Bright Splinters of the Mind | Jessica Kingsley Publishers - UK. 2001. Available from: https://uk.jkp.com/products/bright-splinters-of-the-mind

Sabuncuoğlu M, Cebeci̇ S, Rahbar MH, Hessabi M. Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Knowledge and Attitude of Family Medicine Residents in Turkey -. Turk J Fam Med Prim Care. 2015;9(2):46–53. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5455/tjfmpc.178559

Lyall K, Ashwood P, Van de Water J, Hertz-Picciotto I. Maternal immune-mediated conditions, autism spectrum disorders, and developmental delay. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Jul;44(7):1546–55. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-2017-2

Kuzminski R, Netto J, Wilson J, Falkmer T, Chamberlain A, Falkmer M. Linking knowledge and attitudes: Determining neurotypical knowledge about and attitudes towards autism. PloS One. 2019;14(7):e0220197. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0220197

Downloads

Published

16-01-2024

How to Cite

Mustafa, A. M., Grifa, D., Shebani, A., Alharabi, S., & Alnajjar, K. (2024). Knowledge and awareness of autism spectrum disorder among Libyans. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2762

Issue

Section

Original Articles