Balfe and Tantam (2010) A descriptive social and health profile of a community sample of adults and adolescents with Asperger syndrome

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Little is known about the health and social profile of adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome (AS) living in the community. We conducted a study to describe the living, employment and psycho-social situation of a community sample of forty two adults and adolescents with AS, and to describe these indivdiuals’ experiences of accessing health services and taking medication.

Most respondents (including those over eighteen years of age) lived at home with their parents. Most had trouble reading and responding to other people’s feelings, and coping with unexpected changes. Difficulties with life skills, such as cleaning, washing and hygiene were prevalent. The majority of respondents were socially isolated and a large minority had been sexually or financially exploited. Almost all respondents had been bullied. Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression were common. 30% of respondents said that they regularly became violent and hit other people and 15% had attempted suicide. More positively, the majority of respondents felt that they could access health services if they had a health problem.

The results of this study suggest a relatively poor social and health profile for many people with Asperger syndrome living in the community, with high levels of social problems and social exclusion, and difficulties managing day to day tasks such as washing and cleaning; these findings support the results of other studies that have examined psycho-social functioning in this group.

Balfe, M. and Tantam, D. (2010). A descriptive social and health profile of a community sample of adults and adolescents with Asperger syndrome. BMC Research Notes, Vol. 3(300).