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Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder in anorexia nervosa: A naturalistic study in an inpatient treatment programme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
JournalAutism
Volume23
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2017

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Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated links between Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), however, few studies have examined the possible impact of symptoms of ASD on clinical outcomes in AN. The aim of this study was to examine the association between symptoms of ASD, eating disorder and other psychopathology during the course of inpatient treatment in individuals with AN. Participants with AN (n=171) completed questionnaires exploring eating disorder psychopathology, symptoms of depression and anxiety and everyday functioning at both admission and discharge. Characteristics associated with ASD were assessed using the AQ-10. ASD symptoms were significantly positively correlated with eating disorder psychopathology, work and social functioning and symptoms of depression and anxiety, but not with BMI. AQ-10 scores remained relatively stable from admission to discharge
but there was a small, significant reduction in scores. There was no interaction between time and AQ-10 scores on clinical symptom change. In AN, ASD symptoms appear to be associated with a more severe clinical presentation on admission to inpatient care. ASD symptoms as assessed by self-report measures may be exacerbated by other mental health psychopathology, which warrants further investigation.

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