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Table 1 Studies of prevalence of delinquency in patients with autism spectrum disorders

From: Autism in adult and juvenile delinquents: a literature review

Authors N Setting Diagnosis and classification system Type of instrument/source of data on offending Age in years Control group Conclusion Type of delinquency
Allen et al. [10] 33 of 126; 26% Mostly mental health services but also probation services and prisons Asperger’s syndrome classification system unknown Questionnaire covering offending behavior + semi-structured interview 18–61; M = 34.8 None No association between Asperger’s syndrome and offending Violent behavior and threatening conduct most common followed by destructive behavior, drug offenses and theft
Woodbury-Smith et al. [41] 2 of 25; 8% Primary care services, mental health services, learning disability services and local media High-functioning autism/Asperger’s syndrome ICD-10 Self-Reported Offending Questionnaire and Home Office(UK) Offenders Index M = 29.8 20 non-ASD comparison group Rating of offending lower in the ASD groups than in the non-ASD comparison group More criminal damage in ASD group and fewer drug offenses in ASD group
Hippler et al. [40] 33 in 177; 19% Vienna University Children’s clinic and institute for mental history Autistic psychopathy and Asperger’s syndrome ICD-10 Criminal records search of the Austrian Penal Register 23–64; M = 42 None Asperger’s patients no more likely to have been convicted of a crime than the general male population Most common conviction in Asperger patients property offenses and second falsification or suppression of documents
Mouridsen et al. [9] 29 in 313; 9% University Clinics of Child Psychiatry of Copenhagen and Aarhus 13 childhood autism, 86 atypical autism and 114 Asperger’s syndrome ICD-9, ICD-10 Danish Criminal Register M = 24.5 933 matched controls Offenders with atypical autism and Asperger’s convicted of all kinds of offenses Significantly more arson in Asperger patients and fewer violations for traffic law
Cheely et al. [42] 32 of 609; 5% Department of juvenile justice, South Carolina law enforcement division and South Carolina autism and developmental disabilities monitoring program Autism spectrum disorder DSM-IV-TR Department of Juvenile Justice and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division databases 12–18 99 matched controls Youths with ASD had lower rates of charges overall Higher rate of charges of offenses against the person in youths with ASD; lower rate of charges of property offenses and fewer charges with probation violations