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Association of autistic traits in adulthood with childhood abuse, interpersonal victimization, and posttraumatic stress.
Child Abuse Negl. 2015 Jul; 45:135-42.CA

Abstract

Persons with autistic traits may be at elevated risk for interpersonal victimization across the life course. Children with high levels of autistic traits may be targeted for abuse, and deficits in social awareness may increase risk of interpersonal victimization. Additionally, persons with autistic traits may be at elevated risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms subsequent to trauma. We examined retrospectively reported prevalence of childhood abuse, trauma victimization and PTSD symptoms by autistic traits among adult women in a population-based longitudinal cohort, the Nurses' Health Study II (N=1,077). Autistic traits were measured by the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale. We estimated odds ratios (OR) for childhood sexual and physical/emotional abuse and PTSD symptoms by quintiles of autistic traits. We examined possible mediation of PTSD risk by abuse and trauma type. Women in the highest versus lowest quintile of autistic traits were more likely to have been sexually abused (40.1% versus 26.7%), physically/emotionally abused (23.9% versus 14.3%), mugged (17.1% versus 10.1%), pressured into sexual contact (25.4% versus 15.6%) and have high PTSD symptoms (10.7% versus 4.5%). Odds of PTSD were elevated in women in the top three quintiles of autistic traits compared with the reference group (OR range=1.4 to 1.9). Childhood abuse exposure partly accounted for elevated risk of PTSD in women with autistic traits. We identify for the first time an association between autistic traits, childhood abuse, trauma victimization, and PTSD. Levels of autistic traits that are highly prevalent in the general population are associated with abuse, trauma and PTSD.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, USA.Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.University of California, Davis, CA, USA.Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25957197

Citation

Roberts, Andrea L., et al. "Association of Autistic Traits in Adulthood With Childhood Abuse, Interpersonal Victimization, and Posttraumatic Stress." Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 45, 2015, pp. 135-42.
Roberts AL, Koenen KC, Lyall K, et al. Association of autistic traits in adulthood with childhood abuse, interpersonal victimization, and posttraumatic stress. Child Abuse Negl. 2015;45:135-42.
Roberts, A. L., Koenen, K. C., Lyall, K., Robinson, E. B., & Weisskopf, M. G. (2015). Association of autistic traits in adulthood with childhood abuse, interpersonal victimization, and posttraumatic stress. Child Abuse & Neglect, 45, 135-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.04.010
Roberts AL, et al. Association of Autistic Traits in Adulthood With Childhood Abuse, Interpersonal Victimization, and Posttraumatic Stress. Child Abuse Negl. 2015;45:135-42. PubMed PMID: 25957197.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Association of autistic traits in adulthood with childhood abuse, interpersonal victimization, and posttraumatic stress. AU - Roberts,Andrea L, AU - Koenen,Karestan C, AU - Lyall,Kristen, AU - Robinson,Elise B, AU - Weisskopf,Marc G, Y1 - 2015/05/06/ PY - 2015/01/21/received PY - 2015/04/08/revised PY - 2015/04/10/accepted PY - 2015/5/10/entrez PY - 2015/5/10/pubmed PY - 2016/4/6/medline KW - Autistic traits KW - Broad autism spectrum KW - Child physical abuse KW - Child sexual abuse KW - Posttraumatic stress disorder KW - Violence victimization SP - 135 EP - 42 JF - Child abuse & neglect JO - Child Abuse Negl VL - 45 N2 - Persons with autistic traits may be at elevated risk for interpersonal victimization across the life course. Children with high levels of autistic traits may be targeted for abuse, and deficits in social awareness may increase risk of interpersonal victimization. Additionally, persons with autistic traits may be at elevated risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms subsequent to trauma. We examined retrospectively reported prevalence of childhood abuse, trauma victimization and PTSD symptoms by autistic traits among adult women in a population-based longitudinal cohort, the Nurses' Health Study II (N=1,077). Autistic traits were measured by the 65-item Social Responsiveness Scale. We estimated odds ratios (OR) for childhood sexual and physical/emotional abuse and PTSD symptoms by quintiles of autistic traits. We examined possible mediation of PTSD risk by abuse and trauma type. Women in the highest versus lowest quintile of autistic traits were more likely to have been sexually abused (40.1% versus 26.7%), physically/emotionally abused (23.9% versus 14.3%), mugged (17.1% versus 10.1%), pressured into sexual contact (25.4% versus 15.6%) and have high PTSD symptoms (10.7% versus 4.5%). Odds of PTSD were elevated in women in the top three quintiles of autistic traits compared with the reference group (OR range=1.4 to 1.9). Childhood abuse exposure partly accounted for elevated risk of PTSD in women with autistic traits. We identify for the first time an association between autistic traits, childhood abuse, trauma victimization, and PTSD. Levels of autistic traits that are highly prevalent in the general population are associated with abuse, trauma and PTSD. SN - 1873-7757 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25957197/Association_of_autistic_traits_in_adulthood_with_childhood_abuse_interpersonal_victimization_and_posttraumatic_stress_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0145-2134(15)00128-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -