Piecing together the puzzle: development of the Societal Attitudes towards Autism (SATA) scale


Betsy Morgan, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA. Email: bmorgan@uwlax.edu.


The rise in the prevalence of autism creates a need for a reliable and valid measure of attitudes towards autism. The current study describes the development of a brief 16- item measure of Societal Attitudes towards Autism (SATA) that exhibits sound psychometric properties and has a demonstrated ability to discriminate between expert and general college student samples. The final SATA was the result of pilot work on 75 items and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses on a 45-item version with 475 undergraduates. Knowledge and personal distance subscales yielded inconsistent reliability and validity outcomes. The SATA showed strong content and construct validity as evidenced by known groups discrimination, and predicted associations with an attitude towards disability measure, an autism preference item, and a measure of implicit attitudes towards disabilities.