Autism spectrum disorders linked to greater risk for depression in young adulthood

Bottom Line: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), especially without an accompanying intellectual disability, were associated with greater risk for depression in young adulthood compared with the general population and siblings without ASD.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Mental health problems, including depression, are considered common in people with ASD. Understanding depression in people with ASD is important because it can further reduce social function. The identification and treatment of depression in people with ASD may help improve their quality of life.

Who and When: 223,842 individuals in Sweden followed up to age 27 by 2011, of whom 4,073 were diagnosed with ASD and 219,769 were not

What (Study Measures and Outcomes): Clinical diagnosis of depressive disorders identified in local and national patient registers

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Dheeraj Rai, M.R.C.Psych., Ph.D., of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and coauthors

Study Limitations: Study population may have included people with undiagnosed depression and others may have been misclassified as having depression.

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