Autism Prevalence in England Similar in Adults and Children

Prevalence not found to be related to age in survey respondents

WEDNESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults in England is about 10 per 1,000, which is similar to that seen in children, and prevalence does not appear to be associated with age, according to research published in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Traolach S. Brugha, M.D., of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues weighted data from a national survey of psychiatric morbidity in 7,461 adults to take account of study design and nonresponse and establish the epidemiology of ASD in adults.

The researchers estimated the weighted prevalence of ASD in adults to be 9.8 per 1,000, similar to that found in children; the prevalence was not related to the respondent's age. Those with ASD were more likely to be male, without educational qualifications, and to reside in government-funded housing. There appeared to be no increased use of mental health services.

"The lack of an association with age is consistent with there having been no increase in prevalence and with its causes being temporally constant. Adults with ASD living in the community are socially disadvantaged and tend to be unrecognized," the authors write.

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