The Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adult Psychiatric Inpatients: A Systematic Review
Samuel Tromans1, 2, *, Verity Chester3, 4, Reza Kiani1, 2, Regi Alexander1, 5, Terry Brugha1, 2
1 Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
2 Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
3 Priory Group, Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom
4 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
5 Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Broadland Clinic & Astley Court, Norwich, United Kingdom
Whilst the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in adults within the community setting is well-established, less is known about the prevalence among adults based within a psychiatric inpatient setting.
To conduct a systematic literature review pertaining to the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among the adult psychiatric inpatient population.
Eligibility criteria included: (a) investigation of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (b) adult psychiatric inpatient study population (c) published in English language. Electronic databases accessed included PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO and EMBASE. Additionally, the ancestry method was utilised for the references of eligible papers, as well as grey literature searches and consultation with experts in the field.
From the search, 4 studies were identified which satisfied the inclusion criteria, conducted in a variety of inpatient psychiatric settings, including secure forensic and intellectual disability units and a state psychiatric hospital. There were significant differences in methodological approaches, including the screening tests, diagnostic instruments and diagnostic criteria utilised. Autism spectrum disorder prevalence estimates varied considerably, from 2.4-9.9%.
From the limited research data currently available, it appears that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders is increased in inpatient psychiatric settings relative to the general population. There is a need for further high quality research in this patient group, to add to this limited evidence base, as well as in developing effective strategies to identify patients with a high likelihood of autism spectrum disorders within this setting.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom; Tel: 0116 295 5098; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org