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Psychiatry Res. 2019 Jun;276:94-99. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.04.023. Epub 2019 Apr 22.

Internalised stigma in adults with autism: A German multi-center survey.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, LVR-Klinikum Düsseldorf/Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Bergische Landstrasse 2, Düsseldorf 40629, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Health Services Research, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Ammerländer Heerstraße 140, Oldenburg 26129, Germany.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Philipps University Marburg, Hans-Sachs-Str. 4, Marburg 35039, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, Berlin 12203, Germany.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Göttingen, Von-Siebold-Str. 5, Göttingen 37075, Germany.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Medical Faculty of the Technical University Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, Dresden 01307, Germany.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent of internalised stigma and possible predictors in adults with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We measured internalised stigma in a sample of 149 adults with ASD and an IQ ≥70 (79.2% male, mean age 31.8 years), using the Brief Version of the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale (ISMI-10). The mean ISMI-10 score was 1.93 (SD=0.57), with 15.4% of participants reporting moderate or severe internalised stigma. Moderate or severe stigma was more frequent in persons aged ≥35 years (OR: 4.36), and in individuals with low educational level (OR: 6.00). IQ, sex and ASD diagnostic subtype (ICD-10) did not influence stigma severity. Compared to other mental disorders, the level of internalised stigma in adults with ASD without intellectual disability appears to be lower.


Adults; Autism spectrum disorder; Germany; ISMI questionnaire; Stigma

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