Role of parental occupation in autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and severity

Aisha S. Dickerson, Deborah A. Pearson, Katherine A. Loveland, Mohammad H. Rahbar, Pauline A. Filipek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Some have suggested that parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may present with less recognizable autistic-like phenotypic characteristics, leading them to highly systemizing occupations. Using secondary analysis of data from two previous studies of children with ASD, we tested associations between parental occupations and ASD diagnosis and the association of parental occupational characteristics on ASD severity. We found that fathers in healthcare (P < 0.01) and finance (P = 0.03) were more likely to have children with ASD. Additionally, joint effects of parental technical occupations were associated with communication (P < 0.01) and social impairment (P = 0.04). These results support that a "broader phenotype" and possible assortative mating in adults with autistic-like characteristics might contribute to intergenerational transmission and having offspring with greater ASD severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1007
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Diagnosis
  • Occupation
  • Parents
  • Risk
  • Severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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