Autism: Social Stress Contributes to Poor Mental Health

by Colleen Fleiss on  October 24, 2018 at 9:29 AM Child Health News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

Stress linked to social stigma such as discrimination, rejection has an impact on the mental health of autistic people, examined the researchers from the University of Surrey and University College London. The findings of the study are published in Journal of Society and Mental Health.
Autism: Social Stress Contributes to Poor Mental Health
Autism: Social Stress Contributes to Poor Mental Health

Stress related to social stigma may be the reason why autistic people experience more mental health problems than the general population, dispelling past theories that the condition itself is the origin of such distress.

Researchers testing the 'minority stress theory' conducted an online survey with 111 participants, who considered themselves autistic, to assess stressors that were thought to lead to a decline in their mental health. Minority stress describes chronically high levels of stress faced by members of stigmatized minority groups, which the researchers believed would also apply to autistic people.

The survey covered six key areas of minority stress, including 'victimisation and discrimination' and 'outness', which assessed the degree to which people on the autistic spectrum disclosed their condition to peers, colleagues and health care providers. Other areas investigated included 'everyday discrimination,' 'expectation of rejection,' 'physical concealment,' and 'internalised stigma'. Researchers tested the degree to which exposure to these minority stressors had a negative impact on participants' mental health in the form of psychological distress and a decline in well-being.

Importantly, the research shows that these unique forms of minority stress could explain the mental health problems of autistic people above and beyond the effects of general and everyday forms of stress not related to stigma. Minority stress can be addressed through better education and understanding of the autistic community.

Previous research in this area has found that autistic individuals are more likely than non-autistic people to die by suicide, emphasising the urgent need for additional mental health support for this group. Insights gathered from this research could help transform the approach taken to prevent poor mental health in autistic people, focusing on social and education reform in societies.

Lead author Monique Botha, a Post Graduate Researcher at the University of Surrey, said: "Traditionally autism and poor mental health were believed to be intrinsically linked, but this is not the case. These findings show that poor mental health of people with autism is instead directly connected with exposure to social stress, which goes beyond the effects of everyday stress that are experienced by others.

"Such insight gives us a better understanding of why people with autism may be more likely to have poor mental health and will inform ways of reducing such stresses. It suggests that taking actions within society to tackle discrimination might significantly reduce rates of poor mental health, and thus suicide in autistic population."

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions
Advertisement

Recommended Reading

More News on:

Adolescence Depression Anxiety Disorder Palpitations And Arrhythmias Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Stress and the Gender Divide Reiki-A Holistic Healing Method Andropause / Male Menopause Heart Attack- Lifestyle Risks Is Your Man Moody? Tired All The Time 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive