Psychiatric and Medical Profiles of Autistic Adults in the SPARK Cohort

The SPARK Consortium

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5 Scopus citations


This study examined lifetime medical and psychiatric morbidity reported by caregivers of 2917 autistic adults participating in the US research cohort SPARK. Participants were 78.4% male, 47.3% had intellectual disability, and 32.1% had persistent language impairments. Childhood language disorders (59.7%), speech/articulation problems (32.8%), sleep (39.4%) and eating problems (29.4%), motor delays (22.8%) and history of seizure (15.5%) were the most frequently reported clinical features. Over two thirds (67.2%) had been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric disorder (anxiety disorders: 41.1%; ADHD: 38.7%). Compared to verbally fluent participants, those with language impairments had lower frequencies of almost all psychiatric disorders. Female sex and older age were associated with higher medical and psychiatric morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3679-3698
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Adult
  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Medical
  • Psychiatric
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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