Are Autistic Men & Women More Prone to Deliberately Hurting Themselves?

autism self-harm

While a specific cause of autism has yet to be discovered, there’s yet another reason to be concerned about those who are diagnosed with the condition.

According to survey results from autism researchers with Spectrum, adults with autism are more prone to deliberately harm themselves than other adults.

The findings seems to fall in line with anecdotal reports of autistic teens and young adults unusually likely to engage in some form of self-harm, such as cutting, pinching and nail biting.

The Study at a Glance

Study participants ranged in age from 18 to 56-years-old. They answered a two-part online survey that was designed to pinpoint calculated actions that caused self-harm. The goal was to separate actions that showed emotional angst rather than a repetitive action that showed frustration.

Of all participants, 42 autistic adults were shown to have engaged in deliberate self-harm.

Researchers estimate that 5-17% of autistic adults in the general population share these behaviors.

Women with Autism at More Risk

The Spectrum study also showed that autistic women were more likely than their male counterparts to cause harm to themselves. Specifically, of the 18 women involved in the study, 13 of them said they have engaged in some form of self-harm.

Self-Harm Thoughts Arise From Emotional Pain

Another finding from the Spectrum study suggests that emotional pain – rather than repetitive behaviors connected to autism – is the major cause for self-harm among those with autism.

Study participants said they have great difficulty in expressing anger and other strong emotion in healthy ways.

One of the researchers said, “It seems as though non-suicidal self-injury give a voice to their pain.”

The Fitzgerald Law Firm is Passionate About Autism and Can Help You

The Fitzgerald Law Firm has proven to be highly successful at securing favorable judgements and compensation on behalf of children diagnosed with autism. If you feel your child has developed autistic-like symptoms from exposure to toxins or malpractice, contact us today at 800-323-9900 for a free consultation.