Understanding suicide risk in autistic adults: comparing the interpersonal theory of suicide in autistic and non-autistic samples

Mirabel Pelton, Hayley Crawford, Ashley Robertson, Jacqui Rodgers, Simon Baron-Cohen, Sarah Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study explored whether the Interpersonal Theory of suicide informs our understanding of high rates of suicidality in autistic adults. Autistic and non-autistic adults (n = 695, mean age 41.7 years, 58% female) completed an online survey of self-reported thwarted belonging, perceived burden, autistic traits, suicidal capability, trauma, and lifetime suicidality. Autistic people reported stronger feelings of perceived burden, thwarted belonging and more lifetime trauma than non-autistic people. The hypothesised interaction between burdensomeness and thwarted belonging were observed in the non-autistic group but not in the autistic group. In both groups autistic traits influenced suicidality through burdensomeness/thwarted belonging. Promoting self-worth and social inclusion are important for suicide prevention and future research should explore how these are experienced and expressed by autistic people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3620-3637
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume50
Early online date3 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum condition
  • Interpersonal theory of suicide
  • Perceived burden
  • Thwarted belonging
  • Suicide
  • Suicidality
  • Trauma
  • Capability for suicide

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