Sleep determines quality of life in autistic adults: A longitudinal study

Marie K. Deserno*, Denny Borsboom, Sander Begeer, Joost A. Agelink van Rentergem, Kawita Mataw, Hilde M. Geurts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many individuals with autism report generally low quality of life (QoL). Identifying predictors for pathways underlying this outcome is an urgent priority. We aim to examine multivariate patterns that predict later subjective and objective QoL in autistic individuals. Autistic characteristics, comorbid complaints, aspects of daily functioning, and demographics were assessed online in a 2-year longitudinal study with 598 autistic adults. Regression trees were fitted to baseline data to identify factors that could predict QoL at follow-up. We found that sleep problems are an important predictor of later subjective QoL, while the subjective experience of a person's societal contribution is important when it comes to predicting the level of daily activities. Sleep problems are the most important predictor of QoL in autistic adults and may offer an important treatment target for improving QoL. Our results additionally suggest that social satisfaction can buffer this association. Autism Research 2019, 12: 794–801.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-801
Number of pages8
JournalAutism Research
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • autistic adults
  • large-scale longitudinal data
  • quality of life
  • regression tree analysis
  • sleep problems


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