Background and Aim: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) do not cause premature death and has no definitive treatment. Thus, the life time cost of ASD is very high. Identification of the factors contributing to the cost of this disorder has a key role in its cost management. The purpose of this study was to investigate social factors affecting ASD costs.
Material and Methods: This descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted in Tehran, Iran, in 2017, by using a valid and reliable questionnaire. Social and economic factors contributing to ASD’s direct medical costs, direct non-medical costs, indirect costs of ASD were investigated. 290 ASD patients, were entered into the study. Using SPSS software, 21st version, appropriate statistical tests (Spearman and Pearson tests, independent T-test and ANOVA test) were used for data analysis.
Results: The mean total cost for an ASD patient was 223,561,841 Rials (6,883 $US). About 32%, 52% and 16% of the total costs were related to direct medical costs, direct non-medical costs, and indirect costs. ASD costs had statistically significant relationships with the patient age, gender, education, type of school, parents’ job, family income and health insurance.
Conclusion: Autism imposes heavy costs on the patients and their families. Cost of ASD could be affected by social factors such as age, gender, education, health insurance, job and income. Therefore, health policy makers and health care managers must take special measures for prevention and control of this disorder, treatment, cost management and provision of social and economic support