Autism and psychosis: Clinical implications for depression and suicide


There is increasing recognition of the co-occurrence of autism and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. However, the clinical significance of this on outcomes such as depression and suicidal thinking has not been explored. This study examines the association of autism spectrum traits, depressive symptoms and suicidal behaviour in individuals with psychotic experiences. In two cross sectional studies, individuals from a non-help seeking university student sample and patients with first episode psychosis (FEP) service completed standardized measures of autism spectrum traits, psychotic experiences, depressive symptoms and suicidal thinking. In healthy non-help seeking students, increased autism traits and increased subclinical psychotic experiences were significantly associated with depressive symptoms; a significant interaction effect suggests their combined presence has a greater impact on depression. In FEP, high autism traits and positive symptoms were associated with increased depression, hopelessness and suicidality, however there was no significant interaction effect. In FEP a multiple mediation model revealed that the relationship between autism traits and risk for suicidality was mediated through hopelessness. Young people with subclinical psychotic experiences and all patients with FEP should be screened for autism spectrum traits, which may have significant impact on clinical outcomes. Tailored interventions for patients with high levels of autistic spectrum co-morbidities in FEP should be a priority for future research.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: © 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publication ISSN: 1573-2509
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 07:16
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2019 14:54
Full Text Link: https://researc ... search_2017.pdf
Related URLs: https://www.sci ... 5042?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-05-01
Published Online Date: 2017-08-18
Accepted Date: 2017-08-16
Authors: Upthegrove, Rachel
Abu-Akel, Ahmad
Chisholm, Katharine (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0575-0789)
Lin, Ashleigh
Zahid, Sofia
Pelton, Mirabel
Wood, Stephen



Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only


Version: Accepted Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

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