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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Literature on the Quality of Life for People with Autism

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder, with a known impact on quality of life. Yet the developmental trajectory of quality of life is not well understood. First, the effect of age on quality of life was studied with a meta-analysis. Our meta-analysis included 10 studies (published between 2004 and 2012) with a combined sample size of 486 people with autism and 17,776 controls. Second, as there were no studies on quality of life of the elderly with autism, we conducted an empirical study on quality of life of the elderly (age range 53–83) with autism (N = 24) and without autism (N = 24). The meta-analysis showed that quality of life is lower for people with autism compared to people without autism, and that the mean effect is large (Cohen’s d = −0.96). Age did not have an effect on quality of life. The study concerning the elderly with autism showed that the difference in quality of life is similar in the elderly. Age, IQ and symptom severity did not predict quality of life in this sample. Across the lifespan, people with autism experience a much lower quality of life compared to people without autism. Hence, the quality of life seemed to be independent of someone’s age. [emphasis added]