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      Anxiety and depression in adults with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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          Abstract

          Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are thought to be at disproportionate risk of developing mental health comorbidities, with anxiety and depression being considered most prominent amongst these. Yet, no systematic review has been carried out to date to examine rates of both anxiety and depression focusing specifically on adults with ASD. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the rates of anxiety and depression in adults with ASD and the impact of factors such as assessment methods and presence of comorbid intellectual disability (ID) diagnosis on estimated prevalence rates. Electronic database searches for studies published between January 2000 and September 2017 identified a total of 35 studies, including 30 studies measuring anxiety ( n = 26 070; mean age = 30.9, s.d. = 6.2 years) and 29 studies measuring depression ( n = 26 117; mean age = 31.1, s.d. = 6.8 years). The pooled estimation of current and lifetime prevalence for adults with ASD were 27% and 42% for any anxiety disorder, and 23% and 37% for depressive disorder. Further analyses revealed that the use of questionnaire measures and the presence of ID may significantly influence estimates of prevalence. The current literature suffers from a high degree of heterogeneity in study method and an overreliance on clinical samples. These results highlight the importance of community-based studies and the identification and inclusion of well-characterized samples to reduce heterogeneity and bias in estimates of prevalence for comorbidity in adults with ASD and other populations with complex psychiatric presentations.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Twelve-month and lifetime prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of anxiety and mood disorders in the United States.

          Estimates of 12-month and lifetime prevalence and of lifetime morbid risk (LMR) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) anxiety and mood disorders are presented based on US epidemiological surveys among people aged 13+. The presentation is designed for use in the upcoming DSM-5 manual to provide more coherent estimates than would otherwise be available. Prevalence estimates are presented for the age groups proposed by DSM-5 workgroups as the most useful to consider for policy planning purposes. The LMR/12-month prevalence estimates ranked by frequency are as follows: major depressive episode: 29.9%/8.6%; specific phobia: 18.4/12.1%; social phobia: 13.0/7.4%; post-traumatic stress disorder: 10.1/3.7%; generalized anxiety disorder: 9.0/2.0%; separation anxiety disorder: 8.7/1.2%; panic disorder: 6.8%/2.4%; bipolar disorder: 4.1/1.8%; agoraphobia: 3.7/1.7%; obsessive-compulsive disorder: 2.7/1.2. Four broad patterns of results are most noteworthy: first, that the most common (lifetime prevalence/morbid risk) lifetime anxiety-mood disorders in the United States are major depression (16.6/29.9%), specific phobia (15.6/18.4%), and social phobia (10.7/13.0%) and the least common are agoraphobia (2.5/3.7%) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (2.3/2.7%); second, that the anxiety-mood disorders with the earlier median ages-of-onset are phobias and separation anxiety disorder (ages 15-17) and those with the latest are panic disorder, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder (ages 23-30); third, that LMR is considerably higher than lifetime prevalence for most anxiety-mood disorders, although the magnitude of this difference is much higher for disorders with later than earlier ages-of-onset; and fourth, that the ratio of 12-month to lifetime prevalence, roughly characterizing persistence, varies meaningfully in ways consistent with independent evidence about differential persistence of these disorders. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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            Employment and post-secondary educational activities for young adults with autism spectrum disorders during the transition to adulthood.

            This report describes the post-high school educational and occupational activities for 66 young adults with autism spectrum disorders who had recently exited the secondary school system. Analyses indicated low rates of employment in the community, with the majority of young adults (56%) spending time in sheltered workshops or day activity centers. Young adults with ASD without an intellectual disability were three times more likely to have no daytime activities compared to adults with ASD who had an intellectual disability. Differences in behavioral functioning were observed by employment/day activity group. Our findings suggest that the current service system may be inadequate to accommodate the needs of youths with ASD who do not have intellectual disabilities during the transition to adulthood.
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              The epidemiology of panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication.

              Only limited information exists about the epidemiology of DSM-IV panic attacks (PAs) and panic disorder (PD). To present nationally representative data about the epidemiology of PAs and PD with or without agoraphobia (AG) on the basis of the US National Comorbidity Survey Replication findings. Nationally representative face-to-face household survey conducted using the fully structured World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview. English-speaking respondents (N=9282) 18 years or older. Respondents who met DSM-IV lifetime criteria for PAs and PD with and without AG. Lifetime prevalence estimates are 22.7% for isolated panic without AG (PA only), 0.8% for PA with AG without PD (PA-AG), 3.7% for PD without AG (PD only), and 1.1% for PD with AG (PD-AG). Persistence, lifetime number of attacks, and number of years with attacks increase monotonically across these 4 subgroups. All 4 subgroups are significantly comorbid with other lifetime DSM-IV disorders, with the highest odds for PD-AG and the lowest for PA only. Scores on the Panic Disorder Severity Scale are also highest for PD-AG (86.3% moderate or severe) and lowest for PA only (6.7% moderate or severe). Agoraphobia is associated with substantial severity, impairment, and comorbidity. Lifetime treatment is high (from 96.1% for PD-AG to 61.1% for PA only), but 12-month treatment meeting published treatment guidelines is low (from 54.9% for PD-AG to 18.2% for PA only). Although the major societal burden of panic is caused by PD and PA-AG, isolated PAs also have high prevalence and meaningful role impairment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Psychological Medicine
                Psychol. Med.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0033-2917
                1469-8978
                March 2019
                September 4 2018
                March 2019
                : 49
                : 04
                : 559-572
                Article
                10.1017/S0033291718002283
                30178724
                © 2019

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