J Autism Dev Disord 2020 May;50(5):1580-1595
Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, 230 S. Frontage Rd, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
Depression-, anxiety-, OCD- and autism-related behaviors were assessed in 118 high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and in 2016 controls. The ASD group had a higher rate of clinical depression and markedly higher "insomnia" and "restlessness" scores. Network analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis in the ASD group revealed that depression and anxiety items clustered together, but separately from autism-related items. Compared to controls, "insomnia" and "restlessness" items in the ASD network of depression items were much more central (higher closeness, and betweenness centrality). Combined networks of depression-, anxiety-, and OCD-related items revealed that the control group depression item module was not preserved in ASD. The results indicate that depression is atypical in autism and suggest specific intervention targets.