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A Quantitative Analysis of Mental Health Among Sexual and Gender Minority Groups in ASD

Abstract

There is increased mental-health adversity among individuals with autism spectrum disorder. At the same time, sexual and gender minority groups experience poorer mental-health when compared to heteronormative populations. Recent research suggests that autistic individuals report increased non-heterosexuality and gender-dysphoric traits. The current study aimed to investigate whether as membership of minority grouping becomes increasingly narrowed, mental health worsened. The present study compared the rates of depression, anxiety, and stress using the DASS-21 and Personal Well-Being using the personal well-being index between 261 typically-developing individuals and 309 autistic individuals. As membership to a minority group became more restrictive, mental health symptoms worsened (p < .01), suggesting stressors added. Specialized care is recommended for this vulnerable cohort.

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Acknowledgments

No funding was received for this research. This work is original research and forms part of the doctoral dissertation of the author.

Author Contributions

Both authors contributed to the analytic methods and written work presented in this paper. RG and MAS conceived, and participated in the design of the study. RG conducted all systematic search and meta-analysis procedures, and drafted the original manuscript. MAS provided expertise regarding the study, critically evaluated all key sections of the review, and assisted in drafting the manuscript. MAS oversaw all analyses, participated in the interpretation of data, reviewed, and was involved in the write up of all drafts. Both authors were involved in the final revisions and approval of the published manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mark A. Stokes.

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George, R., Stokes, M.A. A Quantitative Analysis of Mental Health Among Sexual and Gender Minority Groups in ASD. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 2052–2063 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3469-1

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Sexuality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Well-being