Self-focused attention and depressive symptoms in adults with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Queen's University Belfast
  • South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland


Adults with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) are at high risk of developing comorbid depressive symptoms and in the general population self-focused attention has been associated with depression. Here, we aimed to examine the relationships between aspects of self-focused attention and symptoms of depression in individuals with a diagnosis of ASD. 113 adults with a diagnosis of ASD completed self-report questionnaires. Results found that higher levels of brooding, and to a lesser degree, reflection predicted increased depressive symptoms. However, higher levels of private self-consciousness actually predicted decreased depressive symptoms. Differential relationships were observed for males and females. The current study highlights the importance of using a multidimensional approach to examining self-focused attention in ASD, and its important relationship with depression.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692–703
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date14 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • rumination, public self-consciousness, Autistic spectrum disorder, Depression, brooding, reflection, private self-consciousness