History of suicide attempts in adults with Asperger syndrome
Paquette-Smith, M., Weiss, J., & Lunsky, Y.
Background: Individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) may be at higher risk for attempting suicide compared to the general population. Aims: This study examines the issue of suicidality in adults with AS. Method: An online survey was completed by 50 adults from across Ontario. The sample was dichotomized into individuals who had attempted suicide (n = 18) and those who had not (n = 32). We examined the relationship between predictor variables and previous attempts, and compared the services that both groups are currently receiving. Results: Over 35% of individuals with AS reported that they had attempted suicide in the past. Individuals who attempted suicide were more likely to have a history of depression and self-reported more severe autism symptomatology. Those with and without a suicidal history did not differ in terms of the services they were currently receiving. This study looks at predictors retrospectively and cannot ascertain how long ago the attempt was made. Although efforts were made to obtain a representative sample, there is the possibility that the individuals surveyed may be more or less distressed than the general population with AS. Conclusion: The suicide attempt rate in our sample is much higher than the 4.6% lifetime prevalence seen in the general population. These findings highlight a need for more specialized services to help prevent future attempts and to support this vulnerable group.