Self-injurious behaviour is purportedly common in autism, but prevalence rates have not yet been synthesised meta-analytically. In the present study, data from 14,379 participants in thirty-seven papers were analysed to generate a pooled prevalence estimate of self-injury in autism of 42% (confidence intervals 0.38–0.47). Hand-hitting topography was the most common form of self-injury (23%), self-cutting topography the least common (3%). Sub-group analyses revealed no association between study quality, participant intellectual disability or age and overall prevalence rate of self-injury. However, females obtained higher prevalence rates than males (p =.013) and hair pulling and self-scratching were associated with intellectual disability (p =.008 and p =.002, respectively). The results confirm very high rates of self-injury in autism and highlight within group risk-markers.
- Intellectual disability
- Self-injurious behaviour
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology