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10-09-2020 | Original Paper Open Access

Autistic Traits Mediate Reductions in Social Attention in Adults with Anorexia Nervosa

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Auteurs:
Jess Kerr-Gaffney, Luke Mason, Emily Jones, Hannah Hayward, Amy Harrison, Declan Murphy, Kate Tchanturia
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-020-04686-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with difficulties in social and emotional functioning. A significant proportion of individuals with AN show autistic traits, which may influence social attention. This study examined attention to faces and facial features in AN, recovered AN (REC), and healthy controls, as well as relationships with comorbid psychopathology. One hundred and forty-eight participants’ eye movements were tracked while watching a naturalistic social scene. Anxiety, depression, alexithymia, and autistic traits were assessed via self-report questionnaires. Participants with AN spent significantly less time looking at faces compared to REC and controls; patterns of attention to individual facial features did not differ across groups. Autistic traits mediated the relationship between group and time spent looking at faces.

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