Adults with autism deliberately hurt themselves much more often than other adults do, an online survey suggests1. This behavior, which may provide a physical outlet for emotional pain, crops up twice as often in women with autism as in men with the condition.
The findings support anecdotal reports that teens and young adults with autism are unusually likely to engage in self-harm — behaviors that include cutting, nail-biting and pinching. Teens with autism are also 28 times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide.
The new study focuses on non-suicidal self-harm in 42 adults with autism and 42 young adults who do not have autism, but have a history of self-harm.