Talking About Death or Suicide: Prevalence and Clinical Correlates in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Psychiatric Inpatient Setting

For The Autism And Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (Addirc)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Little is known about suicidal ideation in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making it difficult to identify those at heightened risk. This study describes the prevalence of thoughts about death and suicide in 107 verbal youth with ASD with non-verbal IQ >55, assessed during inpatient psychiatric admission. Per parent report, 22% of youth with ASD had several day periods when they talked about death or suicide “often,” or “very often.” Clinical correlates included the presence of a comorbid mood (OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.12–6.55) or anxiety disorder (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.10–4.93). The results suggest a need for developmentally appropriate suicide risk screening measures in ASD. Reliable detection of suicidal thoughts in this high-risk population will inform suicide prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3702-3710
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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