Mental Health Service Use among Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder



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Psychiatric Services


Objective: This study examined prevalence and correlates of mental health service use among adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Methods: Data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) was used to examine mental health service use among youth with an ASD (n=920). Nationally representative estimates generalize to students enrolled in the special education autism category. Regression models examined the association of predisposing, enabling, and need factors with service use overall then with receiving these services at school. Results: Overall, 46% had used a mental health service in the past year. Of those that received a service, 49% had received it at school. Need variables were the strongest correlates of service use. African American youths, and youths from lower income families were more likely to receive school-based services. Conclusion: The school plays a key role in providing services, especially for vulnerable populations. Focused attention on these youths is needed to ensure continuity of care as they leave high school.



Autism spectrum disorders, Behavioral management, Mental health, Service use, Adolescents, Children


Copyright 2011 Psychiatric Services. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Narendorf, Sarah Carter, Paul T. Shattuck, and Paul R. Sterzing. "Mental health service use among adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder." Psychiatric Services 62, no. 8 (2011): 975-978. DOI: 10.1176/ This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.