Associations between coping strategies and mental health outcomes in autistic adults

Published February 2022
Compared to the general population, mental health difficulties are commonly reported in autistic adults. However, the ways in which coping strategies are associated with mental health and well-being in this population remain unknown. Further, we do not know if, and if so, how these associations might differ to that of non-autistic adults. In this study, we hypothesised that in both our autistic (N = 255) and non-autistic (N = 165) adult samples, disengagement coping strategies (e.g., denial) would relate to poorer mental health and well-being, while engagement coping strategies (e.g., problem solving) would relate to better mental health and well-being. Regression analyses revealed that higher use of disengagement coping strategies was significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of well-being in both samples. In contrast, increased use of engagement coping strategies was associated with better well-being, but only in the autistic sample. Our results contribute to the characterisation of negative and positive mental health outcomes in autistic adults from a coping perspective, with potential to offer novel information regarding coping strategies to consider when addressing support options for mental health difficulties in the autistic adult population.
Muniandy, M., Richdale, A.L., Arnold, S.R.C., Trollor, J.N. & Lawson, L.P. (2022). Associations between coping strategies and mental health outcomes in autistic adults. Autism Research.

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