Epidemiologic autism follow-up study using the Utah population database
Few epidemiologic studies have examined outcome of autism in adulthood. This study followed up a population-based sample of adults for several outcome measures through use of the Utah Population Database (UPDB). Youth originally assessed with DSM-III criteria as having autism (N=222) or not having autism (N=94) in the UCLAUniversity of Utah Epidemiologic Survey of Autism were examined. All youth were originally targeted because they were suspected of having autism or had developmental delays. Names of these individuals were submitted to the UPDB to link to driver’s license, identification card, marriage, divorce, and offspring records. Comparisons were also made to the general population when these were available. Computer records were found for 185 of the autism and 84 of the not autism subjects from the initial survey. The autism group had a smaller proportion married (3.8%), with driver’s licenses (16.8%), and with children (2.2%); however, there were more people with identification cards (54.1%). One individual in each group was divorced. No significant differences were found between groups in number of linked records, X2(1, N= 316) = 1.9, p > .05, those deceased, X2(1, N = 269) = 1.57, p > .05, or divorced, X2(1, N= 269) = 0.036, p > .05. Significant differences existed between groups for driver’s license, X2(1, N= 269) = 11.8, p < 0.001, identification card, x2(1, N= 269) = 12.3, p < 0.001, marriage, X2(1, N= 269) = 11.4, p < 0.001, and offspring, X2(1, N= 269) = 4.2, p < 0.05. Both groups exhibited excess mortality in relation to the general population. Factors related to outcome are discussed.