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