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Effects on health of learning disabilities and autism

A study explored the links between learning disability and autism on mental health and poorer general health
Picture shows a model depicting a depressed teenage boy sitting by a window. Learning disability and autism significantly increase the chances of having a mental health condition and are also predictive of poorer general health, a study shows.

A study of data from the national census explored the links between learning disability and autism on mental health and poorer general health

A cross-sectional study examined data from the national census to explore links between learning disability and autism on mental health and poor general health.

In addition to questions on demography, the national census included items on long-term conditions including learning disability, autism, mental health conditions and the general health status of those within households.

The 2011 census returns included data from more than 58,000 people with a learning disability or autism.

Data analysis in the study, by the Scottish Learning Disabilities Observatory, found that in comparison with the general population – for children, young people and adults alike – learning disability, and even more so autism, significantly increased the odds of a person having a mental health


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