Findings of a recent study have indicated that the age at which autism is diagnosed does not affect the individual's quality of life.

Researchers from the University of Bath and King's College London conducted the first-of-its-kind study to investigate the correlation between the age at which individuals become aware of their autism and its impact on their quality of life.

The study's results, published in the journal Autism, showed the age at which someone learned they were autistic did not have a strong connection to their quality of life. Furthermore, the effects were disproportionate based on gender-- autistic women had a better quality of life compared to men, while people who had additional mental health conditions like anxiety tended to have a lower quality of life.

The study involved 300 adults with autism, who were asked to share the age at which they became aware of their autism. In addition to this, the researchers collected detailed information about their socio-demographic background, including their current age, gender, ethnicity, relationship status, living arrangements, educational level, employment status, household income, and any additional mental health conditions they may have. The participants' level of autistic personality traits was also assessed during the study.

"For some people, finding out they are autistic sooner rather than later was linked to a better quality of life. For others, finding out later was better. Overall, there was no overall link between the age they found out and their quality of life," said Lucy Livingston, senior research fellow at the University of Bath and lecturer in Psychology at King's College London, in a news release.

"Our findings revealed that having more autistic personality characteristics--irrespective of when you learn you are autistic--was the strongest link to poor outcomes across all areas of quality of life. We are now following up on this finding to look more closely at how different autistic characteristics contribute to quality of life. This will be an important step towards establishing more tailored, more efficacious support for autistic people based on their specific autistic strengths and difficulties and self-evaluation of their quality of life," Dr. Florence Leung, lead researcher at the University of Bath, said in the news release.

The study showed males with autism and people who have other mental health problems may have a harder time.

"Additionally, being male and having additional mental health conditions was linked with poor quality of life. These observations highlight the importance of considering support strategies that are gender-specific to have a more targeted focus on improving autistic people's mental health, to improve their life outcomes. There has understandably been quite a lot of discussion on autism and mental health in females in recent years but, based on these findings, we should not overlook the needs to autistic males who might also be struggling."

A new study has found that common ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems and upper respiratory infections in young children may indicate the subsequent risk of autism. pixabay