The prevalence and incidence of mental ill-health in adults with autism and intellectual disabilities

J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Oct;38(9):1676-88. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0549-7. Epub 2008 Feb 29.


The prevalence, and incidence, of mental ill-health in adults with intellectual disabilities and autism were compared with the whole population with intellectual disabilities, and with controls, matched individually for age, gender, ability-level, and Down syndrome. Although the adults with autism had a higher point prevalence of problem behaviours compared with the whole adult population with intellectual disabilities, compared with individually matched controls there was no difference in prevalence, or incidence of either problem behaviours or other mental ill-health. Adults with autism who had problem behaviours were less likely to recover over a two-year period than were their matched controls. Apparent differences in rates of mental ill-health are accounted for by factors other than autism, including Down syndrome and ability level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Prevalence