Autism Journal Club

Relative influence of intellectual disabilities and autism on mental and general health in scotland: A cross-sectional study of a whole country of 5.3 million children and adults.

Cameron Macalister will present the following paper. Zoom Meeting ID 967 1171 8983 Kinnear, D., Rydzewska, E., Dunn, K., Hughes-McCormack, L. A., Melville, C., Henderson, A., & Cooper, S. (2019). Relative influence of intellectual disabilities and autism on mental and general health in scotland: A cross-sectional study of a whole country of 5.3 million children and adults. BMJ Open, 9(8), e029040. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029040 Abstract Objectives:To determine the relative extent that autism and intellectual disabilities are independently associated with poor mental and general health, in children and adults. Design: Cross-sectional study. For Scotland’s population, logistic regressions investigated odds of intellectual disabilities and autism predicting mental health conditions, and poor general health, adjusted for age and gender. Participants: 1 548 819 children/youth aged 0-24 years, and 3 746 584 adults aged more than 25 years, of whom 9396/1 548 819 children/youth had intellectual disabilities (0.6%), 25 063/1 548 819 children/youth had autism (1.6%); and 16 953/3 746 584 adults had intellectual disabilities (0.5%), 6649/3 746 584 adults had autism (0.2%). These figures are based on self-report. Main outcome measures: Self-reported general health status and mental health. Results: In children/youth, intellectual disabilities (OR 7.04, 95% CI 6.30 to 7.87) and autism (OR 25.08, 95% CI 23.08 to 27.32) both independently predicted mental health conditions. In adults, intellectual disabilities (OR 3.50, 95% CI 3.20 to 3.84) and autism (OR 5.30, 95% CI 4.80 to 5.85) both independently predicted mental health conditions. In children/youth, intellectual disabilities (OR 18.34, 95% CI 17.17 to 19.58) and autism (OR 8.40, 95% CI 8.02 to 8.80) both independently predicted poor general health. In adults, intellectual disabilities (OR 7.54, 95% CI 7.02 to 8.10) and autism (OR 4.46, 95% CI 4.06 to 4.89) both independently predicted poor general health. Conclusions: Both intellectual disabilities and autism independently predict poor health, intellectual disabilities more so for general health and autism more so for mental health. Intellectual disabilities and autism are not uncommon, and due to their associated poor health, sufficient services/supports are needed. This is not just due to coexistence of these conditions or just to having intellectual disabilities, as the population with autism is independently associated with substantial health inequalities compared with the general population, across the entire life course.