Current Developmental Disorders Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 65–76 | Cite as

Systematic Review of Suicide in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Current Trends and Implications

  • Darren HedleyEmail author
  • Mirko Uljarević
Autism Spectrum (A Richdale and L Hollier, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Autism Specrtum


Purpose of the Review

There is a heightened risk of suicide in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). An up-to-date systematic review was conducted for studies examining suicide in ASD that were published in the past 5 years.

Recent Findings

Four previous systematic reviews were identified. The most recent review included studies published between 1995 and 2014. Combining data cross studies, prevalence of suicide attempts in ASD was estimated to be 7 to 47%, and suicidal ideation was 72%.


The current review included 13 studies. Compared to previous reviews, we identified a shift to the use of larger cohorts, including one population-based study. Prevalence rates for suicidal ideation were 11 to 66% and suicidal attempts were 1 to 35%. One study reported that 0.31% of premature deaths in ASD were due to suicide, significantly higher than general population controls. Further theoretical and empirical work is needed to identify causal mechanisms underlying suicidal risk in people with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Ideation Prevalence Review Suicidal behavior Suicide 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Darren Hedley reports grants from DXC Technology, Australian Government Department of Human Services, and Australian Government Department of Defense.

Mirko Uljarević reports a grant from Autism CRC.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Stanford Autism Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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