Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2023

Thesis Director

JungSu Oh

Thesis Committee Member

Wesley D. Allan

Thesis Committee Member

Margaret T. Floress


Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are far less likely to enroll in secondary education than neurotypical students and students with disabilities (White et al., 2016). There is little research on the factors contributing to the reluctance of young adults on the autism spectrum to seek higher education. This study aims to answer two research questions. The first research question aims to determine if there is a predominance of negative attitudes towards ASD amongst present undergraduate college students. The second research question explores whether this could be a determining factor in a college determination for students with ASD. This current study is comprised of two sample sizes. Ninety-eight undergraduate college students comprised the sample population for the first research question and seven undergraduate students participated in the second research question. Online surveys were sent out to both sample populations and then analyzed. The results of this study indicate that belonging to a lower socioeconomic class, having more knowledge about ASD, belonging to a non-White race, and partaking in a non-stem major were all predictive of positive attitudes about ASD. Further, students with ASD at Eastern Illinois University were likely to feel accepted and positive about their experiences with their non-autistic peers. These results constitute a foundation for further research on factors that contribute to positive attitudes towards ASD and can generate preventative tactics for negative attitudes towards ASD.