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Determinants of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in childhood and adolescence: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Hosozawa, M; Sacker, A; Mandy, W; Midouhas, E; Flouri, E; Cable, N; (2020) Determinants of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in childhood and adolescence: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Autism 10.1177/1362361320913671. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This study aimed to identify determinants of a late autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, including diagnoses made ‘very late’ (i.e., in adolescence), using the Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative population-based cohort in the United Kingdom. Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by age 14 (N = 581) were included and grouped by the parent-reported timing of diagnosis: before school (up to age 5), during primary school (age 5–11) and during secondary school (age 11–14). Predictors of diagnostic timing, at the child, family and school levels, were investigated using multinomial logistic regression. Most (79%) children with autism spectrum disorder were diagnosed after school entry, and 28% were not diagnosed until secondary school. Among those not diagnosed until secondary school, 75% had been identified at age 5 years by a parent and/or teacher as having socio-behavioural difficulties. Being diagnosed after starting school was predicted by living in poverty (adjusted relative risk ratio: primary = 1.90, 95% confidence interval: 1.03–3.53; secondary = 2.15, 1.05–4.42) and/or having no initial parental concerns (primary = 0.32, 0.15–0.70; secondary = 0.19, 0.09–0.43). Having typical-range intelligence also predicted diagnosis during secondary school. The result indicates that those without cognitive delays and poorer children were at risk of ‘very late’ (i.e. adolescent) diagnosis. Strategies to promote earlier identification, targeting age at primary school entry, could help those more likely to be diagnosed late.

Type: Article
Title: Determinants of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in childhood and adolescence: Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1362361320913671
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320913671
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Millennium Cohort Study, adolescents, autism spectrum disorder, diagnosis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098196
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