In Conversation…about Autism, Trauma and Dissociation

In Conversation…about Autism, Trauma and Dissociation

June 16, 2022 0 By bestcbdadmin

In this video from The CTAD Clinic, Dr Mike Lloyd, Clinic Director, speaks with Katherine Reuben (a Graduate Research Assistant from Georgia State University) about her research in autism, trauma and dissociation. Katherine has published a research study looking at the links between autism and trauma, highlighting specific factors that can make people with autism more vulnerable to traumatic experiences.

In the conversation, Mike and Katherine discuss why #PTSD can be more prevalent in people with autism and how dissociative symptoms and coping strategies in autism can overlap. Implications for clinical practice from these findings and the related research are also discussed.

The conversation is a result of Katherine contacting Mike following the first video from The CTAD Clinic on autism and dissociation. Katherine wrote about the research she has done, and highlighted other research that could be of interest, described below.

Katherine can be contacted about her work via

Katherine’s study:
Of 687 autistic adults, 94% reported high psychoform dissociation (including 26% identity disturbances and 53% memory disturbances), and 32% reported high somatoform dissociation. Interpersonal trauma was a strong predictor of both psychoform and somatoform dissociation. 72% of 687 autistic adults reported experiencing physical assault (56%), sexual assault (31%), or other unwanted or uncomfortable sexual experiences (54%). 44% of all participants met criteria for PTSD, including 50% of those who had experienced interpersonal trauma.
(Reuben et al., 2021)

Other relevant research:

A study of 72 autistic youth found that 18% experience depersonalization or derealization in response to or as a symptom of anxiety.
(Storch et al., 2012)

Compared to non-autistic controls, autistic adults met criteria for PTSD at much higher rates and reported more negative life events.
(Haruvi-Lamdan et al., 2020)

Of 59 trauma-exposed autistic adults, 40% had probable PTSD at the time of the study, and 60% were likely to have met PTSD criteria at some point in their life.
(Rumball et al., 2020)

A systematic review found that autistic children report high rates of conventional crime victimization, child maltreatment, peer and sibling victimization, sexual victimization, and witnessing violence.
(Hellstrom, 2019)

426 autistic adults reported significantly higher rates of negative life events than non-autistic controls, including childhood bullying, physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse and sexual abuse as well as adulthood sexual assault, physical assault, bullying, and emotional abuse from a partner. (Griffiths et al., 2019)

Children with ASD are more likely to have reported and substantiated maltreatment than non-autistic children, especially the autistic children who have comorbid intellectual disability.
(McDonnell et al., 2018)

Compared to non-autistic controls, autistic adults reported higher rates of victimization through childhood property crime (especially robbery), child maltreatment (especially physical abuse and emotional abuse), peer and sibling victimization (especially group assault and bullying), and peer sexual assault as well as adulthood emotional bullying and sexual assault (assault by a known adult, attempted or completed rape). (Weiss & Fardella, 2018)

262 autistic children reported high rates of victimization, including assault or bullying, property crime, maltreatment, witnessed crime, and sexual assault. (Pfeffer, 2016)

Of 350 adults with developmental disabilities, 61.9% of men and 58.2% of women reported abuse as children, and 63.7% of men and 68.2% of women reported abuse as adults. (Platt et al., 2015)

Compared to non-autistic controls, autistic adults were almost 3 times more likely to report unwanted sexual contact, sexual coercion, and rape. 78% of autistic adults compared to 47.4% of non-autistic adults reported some type of sexual victimization. (Brown-Lavoie et al., 2014)

Caregivers of 156 autistic children reported to a community clinic that 18.5% of the children had been physically abused and 16.6% had been sexually abused. (Mandell et al., 2005)

#autism #trauma #dissociation #research