The Gap Between Adaptive Behavior and Intelligence in Autism Persists into Young Adulthood and is Linked to Psychiatric Co-morbidities
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For individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), long-term outcomes have been troubling, and intact IQ has not been shown to be protective. Nevertheless, relatively little research into adaptive functioning among adults with ASD has been completed to date. Therefore, both adaptive functioning and comorbid psychopathology were assessed among 52 adults with ASD without intellectual disability (ID). Adaptive functioning was found to substantially lag behind IQ, and socialization was a particular weakness. Comorbid psychopathology was significantly correlated with the size of IQ-adaptive functioning discrepancy. These findings emphasize key intervention targets of both adaptive skill and psychopathology for transition-age youth and young adults with ASD, as well as the need for ongoing monitoring of anxiety and depression symptoms during this developmental window.
KeywordsAdaptive functioning Adulthood Autism spectrum disorder Psychopathology IQ Outcome
This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program at NIMH, NIH under grant 1-ZIA-MH002920. We would like to express our gratitude to the individuals and families who volunteered their time to contribute to this research.
CKK designed the study, analyzed the data, wrote the initial draft of the paper, and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers’ comments. LK and GLW provided support in developing the study design. LK, GLW, and AM assisted with manuscript writing and development. HP collected data, built the database, participated in data analysis, and reviewed the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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