Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1011–1018 | Cite as

Characteristics Associated with Presence of Depressive Symptoms in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Lindsey Sterling
  • Geraldine DawsonEmail author
  • Annette Estes
  • Jessica Greenson
Original Paper


Evidence suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often exhibit associated psychiatric symptoms, particularly related to depression. The current study investigated whether individual characteristics, specifically, severity of ASD symptoms, level of cognitive ability, and/or presence of other psychiatric disorders, are associated with occurrence of depressive symptoms in adults with ASD. Forty-six adults with ASD were administered a standardized psychiatric history interview. Twenty participants (43%) endorsed depressive symptoms. It was found that individuals with less social impairment, higher cognitive ability, and higher rates of other psychiatric symptoms, were more likely to report depressive symptoms. These characteristics may be vulnerability factors for the development of depression, and should be considered when screening and treating adults with ASD.


Autism Depression Anxiety Comorbidity Associated psychopathology Cognitive ability 



We wish to thank the individuals who participated in this study. This research was funded by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U19HD34565, P50HD066782, and R01HD-55741) and the National Institute of Mental Health (U54MH066399).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey Sterling
    • 1
    • 2
  • Geraldine Dawson
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Annette Estes
    • 3
  • Jessica Greenson
    • 1
  1. 1.UW Autism Center, Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.UW Autism CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UW Autism CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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