Autistic Traits and Abnormal Sensory Experiences in Adults

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Abstract

Sensory processing abnormalities are common in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and now form part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria, but it is unclear whether they characterize the ‘broader phenotype’ of the disorder. We recruited adults (n = 772) with and without an ASD and administered the Autism Quotient (AQ) along with the Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile (AASP), the Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale (CAPS), and the Glasgow Sensory Questionnaire (GSQ), all questionnaire measures of abnormal sensory responsivity. Autism traits were significantly correlated with scores on all three sensory scales (AQ/GSQ r = 0.478; AQ/AASP r = 0.344; AQ/CAPS r = 0.333; all p < 0.001). This relationship was linear across the whole range of AQ scores and was true both in those with, and without, an ASD diagnosis. It survived correction for anxiety trait scores, and other potential confounds such as mental illness and migraine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1469
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014

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