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Health conditions and service use of autistic women and men: A retrospective population-based case-control study.

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Chung, Hannah 
Lai, Meng-Chuan 
Balogh, Robert 
Lin, Elizabeth 


This study used administrative data from Ontario, Canada to compare the health conditions and service use of autistic women and men with adults with other developmental disabilities and with adults without developmental disabilities. Autistic women and men were more likely to have physical and mental health conditions compared to adults without developmental disabilities. Rates of health conditions were similar or lower among autistic adults compared to adults with other developmental disabilities, except more autistic adults had psychiatric conditions. Autistic women and men used higher rates of psychiatric services compared to all other groups. When comparing autistic women with same aged autistic men, sex differences were found for specific physical (Crohn's disease/colitis, rheumatoid arthritis) and psychiatric conditions (psychotic disorders, non-psychotic disorders), as well differences in service use (emergency department visits, hospitalizations, family doctor and neurologist visits). These results further highlight the high health needs and service use of autistic women and men, as well as adults with other developmental disabilities. It is critical for future research to focus on mental health support for autistic adults and to better understand how to tailor supports to best serve autistic women.


Peer reviewed: True


autism, gender, mental health, physical health, service use, sex differences, women, Adult, Humans, Male, Female, Autistic Disorder, Retrospective Studies, Case-Control Studies, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Ontario

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SAGE Publications
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (GSB-171373)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (PHE #103973)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Post-doctoral Fellowship)