, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Autistic people, #suicide, #depression. Thread, Important.
Are you involved in testing for depression in #autistic people? Perhaps as a researcher, or a medical professional? Please be aware of the perils of using some of the standard tests. An example. Here we go.../
bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.11… This example is freshly published. A team gave a suicidal autistic person a questionnaire re depression and said, "Cor, you're not depressed, mate - this must be just one of them obsessive autistic things" (or words to that effect...)/
Unfortunately for the researchers, they decided to use the Beck's Depression Inventory. Here it is if you want a link to a version. ismanet.org/doctoryourspir… It asks questions, and the person chooses the response that is most accurate. It's not designed for autistic people./
And this, my friends, is how you can end up with a score of zero (not depressed) from answering completely accurately. Sample questions and potential reasons for the answer. "I get as much satisfaction out of things as I used to" (But what they have never felt satisfied?)/
Thus, a person who is so depressed that they are considering detailed plans to take their own life may score near to zero. Wrong questions.
The researchers have not only failed to realise this, but have then pinned this on autistic alleged-obsession. Guess what they'll recommend/
This research is the sort of thing that gets used to prove that autistic people need to have their routines broken. That our need for structure and rules can be a bad thing, therefore that it's important to train us to be more 'flexible'. It's bad research. /
There is serious work happening in the country on autism and suicide. Work by @Sarah_NottsUni and team for example. I've participated in some of the projects because we know this is a major concern in autistic communities.
Ensure you ask the questions correctly.
Thank you.
PS, using the PHQ-9 as a #depression indicator for #autistic patients? That's another one where many of the questions may not test usefully for such depression. A number of co-occurring conditions may affect results, & the opening question is confusing. My thoughts...
If the assessor is understanding of autism & has had good training on it, knows enough about the co-occurring condition possibilities, and knows the person well enough, it might just work. That's a lot of 'if'. And why we need that research.
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