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17-04-2017 | Uitgave 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 1/2018

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

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 1/2018
Heather Westwood, William Mandy, Mima Simic, Kate Tchanturia


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.

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