Brief Report: Self-Reported Academic, Social, and Mental Health Experiences of Post-Secondary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Increasing numbers of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are enrolling in post-secondary academic institutions. However, research indicates that post-secondary students with ASD are struggling more than their typically developing peers, with high rates of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and an increased incidence of dropping-out before completion of their degrees. The current study utilized an online survey to gain insight into the self-reported academic, social, and mental health experiences of post-secondary students with ASD. Participants reported high levels of academic comfort, but struggled with issues of isolation/loneliness and high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Of greatest concern, were the nearly three-quarters of participants who reported lifetime suicidal behaviors. Further analysis on collected data and implications of findings are discussed.

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Funding

There is no direct funding to report for this study, however, the position of Scott L. J. Jackson is currently funded by the NIMH (T32 MH018268).

Author Contributions

Study design and manuscript preparation was performed by SJ, LH, JB, and FV. Data collection and analysis was performed by SJ. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Scott L. J. Jackson.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Jackson, S.L.J., Hart, L., Brown, J.T. et al. Brief Report: Self-Reported Academic, Social, and Mental Health Experiences of Post-Secondary Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 643–650 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3315-x

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Asperger’s
  • College
  • University
  • Mental health
  • Student