Dialectical behaviour therapy outcomes for adolescents with autism spectrum conditions compared to those without: findings from a seven-year service evaluation

Matthew Phillips, Rhian Parham, Katrina Hunt, Jake Camp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose
Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) have overlapping symptom profiles. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is an established treatment for self-harm and BPD, but little research has investigated the outcomes of DBT for ASC populations. This exploratory service evaluation aims to investigate the outcomes of a comprehensive DBT programme for adolescents with a diagnosis of emerging BPD and a co-occurring ASC diagnosis as compared to those without an ASC diagnosis.
Design/methodology/approach
Differences from the start to end of treatment in the frequency of self-harming behaviours, BPD symptoms, emotion dysregulation, depression, anxiety, the number of A&E attendances and inpatient bed days, education and work status, and treatment non-completion rates were analysed for those with an ASC diagnosis, and compared between those with an ASC diagnosis and those without.
Findings
Significant medium to large reductions in self-harming behaviours, BPD symptoms, emotion dysregulation and inpatient bed days were found for those with an ASC diagnosis by the end of treatment. There were no significant differences between those with an ASC and those without in any outcome or in non-completion rates. These findings indicate that DBT may be a useful treatment model for those with an ASC diagnosis, though all results are preliminary and require replication.
Originality/value
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to report the outcomes of a comprehensive DBT programme for adolescents with an ASC diagnosis, and to compare the changes in outcomes between those with a diagnosis and those without.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Autism
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2024

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