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Adverse Childhood Experiences and Autism: A Meta-Analysis.

Hartley, Gemma; Sirois, Fuschia; Purrington, Jack; Rabey, Yasmin


Gemma Hartley

Jack Purrington

Yasmin Rabey


Evidence suggests that autistic children have a higher probability of experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) compared to their non-autistic peers. This meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42022262635) aimed to quantify the association of autism and ACEs. Eight databases and Google Scholar were searched for studies that reported dichotomous outcomes regarding the associations between ACEs and autistic individuals, compared to non-autistic individuals. A random-effects model was used to calculate the average Odds Ratio (OR) of the relationship between a diagnosis of autism and ACEs. A total of 40 studies with 5,619,584 participants were included, generating an overall average OR 2.11 (CI 1.61, 2.77). Significant differences in the magnitude of association were found across studies with regards to the type of ACEs studied, comparison groups, and population type. Overall, moderate certainty evidence (downgraded for bias) indicates that autistic individuals are at greater risk of experiencing ACEs, compared to non-autistic individuals. Appropriate support for autistic individuals and their families are required to prevent ACEs and treat the impact of ACEs.


Hartley, G., Sirois, F., Purrington, J., & Rabey, Y. (2023). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Autism: A Meta-Analysis. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 1, 2023
Publication Date Dec 1, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2024
Journal Trauma, Violence, and Abuse
Print ISSN 1524-8380
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords parental mental health, child abuse, autism, bullying, adverse childhood experiences
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