Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in England

Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, England.
Archives of general psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.75). 05/2011; 68(5):459-65. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.38
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To our knowledge, there is no published information on the epidemiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in adults. If the prevalence of autism is increasing, rates in older adults would be expected to be lower than rates among younger adults.
To estimate the prevalence and characteristics of adults with ASD living in the community in England.
A stratified, multiphase random sample was used in the third national survey of psychiatric morbidity in adults in England in 2007. Survey data were weighted to take account of study design and nonresponse so that the results were representative of the household population.
General community (ie, private households) in England.
Adults (people 16 years or older).
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Module 4 in phase 2 validated against the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised and Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders in phase 3. A 20-item subset of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient self-completion questionnaire was used in phase 1 to select respondents for phase 2. Respondents also provided information on sociodemographics and their use of mental health services.
Of 7461 adult participants who provided a complete phase 1 interview, 618 completed phase 2 diagnostic assessments. The weighted prevalence of ASD in adults was estimated to be 9.8 per 1000 (95% confidence interval, 3.0-16.5). Prevalence was not related to the respondent's age. Rates were higher in men, those without educational qualifications, and those living in rented social (government-financed) housing. There was no evidence of increased use of services for mental health problems.
Conducting epidemiologic research on ASD in adults is feasible. The prevalence of ASD in this population is similar to that found in children. The lack of an association with age is consistent with there having been no increase in prevalence and with its causes being temporally constant. Adults with ASD living in the community are socially disadvantaged and tend to be unrecognized.

    • "There is a lack of diagnostic standards assessing ASD in adults with IDD, especially in those with limited language skills (Bö lte & Poustka, 2005, 2005; Matson & Shoemaker, 2009). Generally ASD seems to be under-diagnosed in adulthood (Brugha et al., 2011): reasons for this may be the change of diagnostic criteria over the decades, increasing sensitivity to ASD in children or individual adaptation to social demands. In adults with IDD, diagnostics are further complicated by, for example, limited self-report and a lack of information about early child development due to loss of contact with families. "
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    Research in developmental disabilities 07/2015; 43-44:123-135. DOI:10.1016/j.ridd.2015.05.011 · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    • "ing social interaction and less apt to function well in group settings . Individuals with ASD differed from those without ASD on almost all demographic variables , which is consistent with previous research . That is , there were more males in the ASD group , they were younger , and had greater severity of ID compared with those without ASD ( cf . Brugha et al . , 2011 ; Fombonne , 2005 ) . This bias in demography represented possible confounders to the influence of ASD on social dysfunctions , which was considered in the multiple mediation modeling analyses . Ability to communicate verbally was found to mediate social dysfunction , consistent with findings that individuals with ASD rarely initiate ap"
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    • "Including less severe forms of autism, the prevalence now is estimated to vary between 0.5% and 2.5% depending on the populations studied (Brugha et al., 2011; Kim et al., 2011). The latest figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: "
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