Employment status is related to sleep problems in adults with autism spectrum disorder and no comorbid intellectual impairment Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Both sleep problems and unemployment are common in adults with autism spectrum disorder; however, little research has explored this relationship in this population. This study aimed to explore factors that may be associated with the presence of an International Classification of Sleep Disorders-Third Edition defined sleep disorder in adults with autism spectrum disorder (IQ > 80). A total of 36 adults with autism spectrum disorder and 36 controls were included in the study. Participants completed a 14-day actigraphy assessment and questionnaire battery. Overall, 20 adults with autism spectrum disorder met the International Classification of Sleep Disorders-Third Edition criteria for insomnia and/or a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder, while only 4 controls met criteria for these disorders. Adults with autism spectrum disorder and an International Classification of Sleep Disorders-Third Edition sleep disorder had higher scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and were more likely to be unemployed compared to adults with autism spectrum disorder and no sleep disorder. The findings demonstrate, for the first time, that sleep problems are associated with unemployment in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Further research exploring the direction of this effect is required; sleep problems that have developed during adolescence make attainment of employment for those with autism spectrum disorder difficult, or unemployment results in less restrictions required for optimal and appropriate sleep timing.

publication date

  • 2019