Longitudinal patterns of employment and postsecondary education for adults with autism and average-range IQ

Autism. 2015 Oct;19(7):785-93. doi: 10.1177/1362361315585643. Epub 2015 May 27.


This study examined correlates of participation in postsecondary education and employment over 12 years for 73 adults with autism spectrum disorders and average-range IQ whose families were part of a larger, longitudinal study. Correlates included demographic (sex, maternal education, paternal education), behavioral (activities of daily living, maladaptive behaviors, autism symptoms), and family (size of maternal social network; maternal depressive symptoms, anxiety, and pessimism) factors. Although two-thirds of adults with autism spectrum disorder participated in competitive employment/postsecondary education during the study, fewer than 25% maintained these activities over the study period. Behavioral characteristics distinguished those who never had competitive employment/postsecondary education from those who sometimes or consistently participated in these activities. Women were considerably less likely than men to maintain employment/postsecondary education over time.

Keywords: adult; autism spectrum disorder; employment; longitudinal; postsecondary education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Education / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emotional Adjustment
  • Employment / psychology
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Young Adult