Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) more frequently experience potentially traumatic events (PTEs), and may be more vulnerable to trauma-related symptoms. However, it is unclear how such symptoms are captured on tools used for behavioural and psychiatric assessment in this population.
To explore whether and how PTEs are associated with symptom reports in adults with ASD and ID.
Methods and procedures
Associations and group differences for death of a close relative and serious disease/injury in a close relative/caregiver/friend were explored in a clinical sample of 171 adults with ASD and ID referred for psychiatric assessment. Symptoms were measured using Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and Psychopathology in Autism Checklist (PAC).
Outcomes and results
Disease/injury was associated with higher scores on ABC irritability, ABC hyperactivity and self-injurious behaviour. Death was associated with lower scores on ABC lethargy and ABC stereotypic behaviour. Some associations reached significance only when controlling for ASD, ID, or verbal language skills, but the identified associations were not robust. No associations were found for PAC.
Conclusions and implications
There is a risk of under-appreciating the impact of PTEs in this population unless ASD, ID and verbal language skills are taken into account.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International