Prevalence and Risk-Markers of Self-Harm in Autistic Children and Adults

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Self-harm is purportedly common in autistic individuals, but under-researched, particularly in younger samples and those without intellectual disability. This study aimed to describe prevalence, profile and correlates of self-harm in autistic individuals without impairments in adaptive functioning. Parents of autistic participants (n = 83) completed questionnaires regarding the presence/topography of self-harm, demographic characteristics, autism severity, age of diagnosis, affect, activity levels and repetitive behaviour. 24.10% of participants engaged in self-harm. Self‐harm was associated with significantly higher levels of impulsivity, over-activity, negative affect, compulsive behaviour and insistence on sameness. Low mood and overactivity/impulsivity predicted the presence of self-harm, with the model correctly classifying 82.9% of cases. Findings highlight a role for impaired behavioural inhibition and low mood in the aetiological mechanisms underpinning self-harm in autism.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date26 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Autism, Self-harm, Prevalence, Risk-marker, Affect, Impulsivity