Assessing ASD in Adolescent Females with Anorexia Nervosa using Clinical and Developmental Measures: a Preliminary Investigation

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to use standardised, clinical assessment tools to explore the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms in a sample of adolescent females with Anorexia Nervosa (AN), receiving either day-patient or inpatient treatment for their eating disorder and to determine whether any such symptoms were present during the early developmental period, a requirement for a diagnosis of ASD. Using a cross-sectional design, 40 females aged between 12 and 18 were recruited from inpatient and day-patient eating disorder services. All participants had a diagnosis of AN and were assessed for symptoms of ASD using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd edition (ADOS-2). If participants scored at or above clinical cut-off on the ADOS-2, their parents were asked to complete the Developmental, Dimensional and Diagnostic Interview, short version (3Di-sv). Of the 40 participants assessed, 21 scored above cut-off on the ADOS-2. When developmental history was obtained, only four participants scored above cut-off on all sub-scales of the 3Di-sv, thus meeting full research criteria for ASD. This study suggests that 10% of adolescents with AN from inpatient or day-patient settings may have diagnosable ASD, while a further 40% may show symptoms of ASD, which may arise from the ill-state of AN or are not supported by parental report.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • ASD
  • FEMALE

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