New research published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that autistic women differ from their male counterparts in that they are at a higher risk of mental illness, such as anxiety and other affective disorders, when compared with non-autistic people.
The research was released by Karolinska Institutet.
The study involved a register-based cohort of over 1.3 million people in Sweden. About 20,000 of the people had a diagnosis of autism.
The authors of the study found that by age 25, 77 out of 100 autistic women had received at least one psychiatric diagnosis.
“This population-based cohort study assessed all individuals born in Sweden between 1985 and 1997,” according to the study’s authors. “A total of 1 335 753 individuals, including 20 841 autistic individuals (7129 [34.2%] female individuals), were followed up from age 16 through 24 years between 2001 and 2013. Analysis took place between June 2021 and August 2022.”
“These findings show the high mental health needs of autistic young adults, particularly autistic female individuals who are at higher risk of receiving a diagnosis of, as well as being hospitalized for, psychiatric problems compared with autistic male individuals.”