Demographic and cognitive profile of individuals seeking a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in adulthood

Happé, Francesca G.E.; Mansour, Hassan; Barrett, Pippa; Brown, Tony; Abbott, Patricia and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2016. Demographic and cognitive profile of individuals seeking a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(11), pp. 3469-3480. ISSN 0162-3257 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Little is known about ageing with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We examined the characteristics of adults referred to a specialist diagnostic centre for assessment of possible ASD, 100 of whom received an ASD diagnosis and 46 did not. Few demographic differences were noted between the groups. Comorbid psychiatric disorders were high in individuals with ASD (58%) and non-ASD (59%). Individuals who received an ASD diagnosis had higher self-rated severity of ASD traits than non-ASD individuals. Within the ASD group, older age was associated with higher ratings of ASD traits and better cognitive performance. One interpretation is that general cognitive ability and the development of coping strategies across the lifespan, do not necessarily reduce ASD traits but may mitigate their effects.

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This work was supported by Goldsmiths University, Research and Enterprise Committee College Research Fund (PI, Charlton).


Adulthood, Ageing, Autism spectrum disorders, Autism traits, Diagnosis, Psychiatric comorbidity

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22 August 2016Published Online
1 November 2016Published
30 July 2016Accepted

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07 Aug 2017 11:10

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:22

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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