Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 352–357 | Cite as

Mortality in Autism: A Prospective Longitudinal Community-Based Study

  • Christopher GillbergEmail author
  • Eva Billstedt
  • Valter Sundh
  • I. Carina Gillberg
Original Paper


The purposes of the present study were to establish the mortality rate in a representative group of individuals (n = 120) born in the years 1962–1984, diagnosed with autism/atypical autism in childhood and followed up at young adult age (≥18 years of age), and examine the risk factors and causes of death. The study group, which constituted a total population sample of children with these diagnoses, were followed up in Swedish registers. Nine (7.5%) of the 120 individuals with autism had died at the time of follow-up, a rate 5.6 times higher than expected. The mortality rate was significantly higher among the females. Associated medical disorders (including epilepsy with cognitive impairment) and accidents accounted for most of the deaths, and it was not possible to determine whether autism “per se” actually carries an increased mortality risk.


Autism Asperger syndrome Adults Mortality Epilepsy 



This study was supported by grants from The Swedish Science Council (2006-3449) and from the Research Foundation of Wilhelm and Martina Lundgren.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Gillberg
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Eva Billstedt
    • 1
  • Valter Sundh
    • 3
  • I. Carina Gillberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Queen Silvia’s Hospital for Children and AdolescentsGothenburg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Child HealthUniversity CollegeLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Public HealthGothenburg UniversityGöteborgSweden

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