Quality of life, gastrointestinal symptoms, sleep problems, social support, and social functioning in adults with autism spectrum disorder
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Leader, Geraldine, Barrett, Amy, Ferrari, Chiara, Casburn, Mia, Maher, Leanne, Naughton, Katie, Arndt, Sophia, Mannion, Arlene. (2021). Quality of life, gastrointestinal symptoms, sleep problems, social support, and social functioning in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 112, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.103915
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between sleep problems, gastrointestinal symptoms, social functioning, autism traits, and social support on quality of life (QoL) in 107 adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Questionnaires included the Autism Spectrum Quotient-10 (Adult), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Social Functioning Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Gastrointestinal Symptom Inventory, and World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF. GI symptoms were a common comorbidity with 86 % of participants presenting with them. Sleep problems were also frequent issues with 89 % of participants being classified as poor sleepers. Greater sleep problems were correlated with poorer QoL in the physical health and environment domains. Specifically, the sleep problem of daytime dysfunction was correlated with poorer QoL in physical health. Daytime dysfunction and sleep duration were correlated with poorer QoL in the environment domain. Better social support was correlated with greater QoL in the psychological, social and environment domains. Poorer social functioning was correlated with poorer QoL in each of the four domains. This research indicated that GI symptoms and sleep problems are common comorbid conditions in the adult ASD population. This paper expanded upon the existing literature by highlighting unexplored factors influencing QoL in adults with ASD.