PURPOSE: The prevalence of autism diagnoses has increased in recent years. The portrayal of autistic characters in mainstream media, such as TV series, may be a contributing factor. This study investigated whether young adults who consume media featuring autistic characters are more likely to self-diagnose with autism.
METHODS: 348 participants filled out an online questionnaire exploring their media consumption, subjective diagnosis of autism and objective indicators of autism using an Emotion Recognition Task.
RESULTS: Results from linear regression analysis indicated a significant correlation between media consumption and self-diagnosis, while valence of the series and objective diagnosis did not have a significant influence. The study found no gender differences.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest a need for further research on the relationship between media consumption and self-diagnosis, including for other forms of media beyond TV series.