Premature mortality in autism spectrum disorder

Br J Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;208(3):232-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.114.160192. Epub 2015 Nov 5.


Background: Mortality has been suggested to be increased in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Aims: To examine both all-cause and cause-specific mortality in ASD, as well as investigate moderating role of gender and intellectual ability.

Method: Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for a population-based cohort of ASD probands (n = 27,122, diagnosed between 1987 and 2009) compared with gender-, age- and county of residence-matched controls (n = 2,672,185).

Results: During the observed period, 24,358 (0.91%) individuals in the general population died, whereas the corresponding figure for individuals with ASD was 706 (2.60%; OR = 2.56; 95% CI 2.38-2.76). Cause-specific analyses showed elevated mortality in ASD for almost all analysed diagnostic categories. Mortality and patterns for cause-specific mortality were partly moderated by gender and general intellectual ability.

Conclusions: Premature mortality was markedly increased in ASD owing to a multitude of medical conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / mortality*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality, Premature*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult