Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 11, pp 3469–3480 | Cite as

Demographic and Cognitive Profile of Individuals Seeking a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adulthood

  • Francesca G. Happé
  • Hassan Mansour
  • Pippa Barrett
  • Tony Brown
  • Patricia Abbott
  • Rebecca A. Charlton
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Adulthood Ageing Autism spectrum disorders Autism traits Diagnosis Psychiatric comorbidity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and NeuroscienceKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGoldsmiths University of LondonNew Cross, LondonUK
  3. 3.Autism Diagnostic Research CentreSouthamptonUK

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