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How do core autism traits and associated symptoms relate to quality of life? Findings from the Longitudinal European Autism Project.

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Tillmann, Julian 
Ahmad, Jumana 
Crawley, Daisy 
San José Cáceres, Antonia 


Previous studies suggest that some autistic individuals report lower satisfaction, or well-being, with different aspects of everyday life than those without autism. It is unclear whether this might be partly explained by symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, which affect at least 20%-50% of autistic people. In this study, we measured individual differences in well-being in 573 six to thirty-year-olds with and without a diagnosis of autism. We investigated whether individual differences in well-being were explained by autism traits (e.g. social-communication difficulties) and/or anxiety and depression symptoms. We showed that, though well-being was lower for some autistic individuals, compared to those without autism, many autistic individuals reported good well-being. Where well-being was reduced, this was particularly explained by depression symptoms, across all ages. For children/adolescents, anxiety and social-communication difficulties were also related to some aspects of well-being. Our study suggests that support and services for improving mental health, especially depression symptoms, may also improve broader outcomes for autistic people.



anxiety, autism, depression, quality of life, well-being, Adolescent, Anxiety Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Child, Humans, Personal Satisfaction, Quality of Life

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SAGE Publications
Innovative Medicines Initiative (115300 / 777394)