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    Mapping the link between socio-economic factors, autistic traits and mental health across different settings

    Del Bianco, Teresa and Lockwood Estrin, Georgia and Tillman, J. and Oakley, B.F. and Crawley, D. and San José Cáceres, A. and Hayward, H. and Potter, M. and Mackay, W. and Smit, P. and du Plessis, C. and Brink, L. and Sprincer, C. and Odendaal, H. and Charman, T. and Banaschewski, T. and Baron-Cohen, S. and Bölte, S. and Johnson, Mark H. and Murphy, D. and Buitelaar, J. and Loth, E. and Jones, Emily J.H. (2023) Mapping the link between socio-economic factors, autistic traits and mental health across different settings. Autism , ISSN 1362-3613.

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    Abstract

    Autistic individuals experience higher rates of externalising and internalising symptoms that may vary with environmental factors. However, there is limited research on variation across settings that may highlight common factors with globally generalisable effects. Data were taken from two cohorts: a multinational European sample (n = 764; 453 autistic; 311 non-autistic; 6–30 years), and a South African sample (n = 100 non-autistic; 3–11 years). An exploratory factor analysis aggregated clinical (Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Index), adaptive traits (Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale) and socio-economic variables (parental employment and education, home and family characteristics) in each cohort separately. With regression, we investigated the effect of these factors and autistic traits on internalising and externalising scores (measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). Cohorts showed similar four-factor structures (Person Characteristics, Family System, Parental and Material Resources). The ‘Family System’ factor captured family size and maternal factors and was associated with lower internalising and externalising symptoms in both cohorts. In the European cohort, high autistic traits reduced this effect; the opposite was found in the South Africa cohort. Our exploratory findings from two separate analyses represent consistent evidence that Family System is associated with internalising and externalising symptoms, with a context-specific impact in persons with high autism traits.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Teresa Del Bianco
    Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2023 12:38
    Last Modified: 16 Oct 2023 13:47
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/52209

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