Investigating autism spectrum disorder and autistic traits in early onset eating disorder
Article first published online: 13 FEB 2012
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 583–591, May 2012
How to Cite
Pooni, J., Ninteman, A., Bryant-Waugh, R., Nicholls, D. and Mandy, W. (2012), Investigating autism spectrum disorder and autistic traits in early onset eating disorder. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 45: 583–591. doi: 10.1002/eat.20980
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 FEB 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 OCT 2011
- eating disorder;
- anorexia nervosa;
- autism spectrum disorder;
- repetitive stereotyped behavior
To investigate whether young people (8–16 years) with an eating disorder have a higher prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASDs) and elevated autistic traits compared to typically developing (TD) peers.
Twenty-two participants with early onset eating disorder (EOED) were assessed using standardized ASD measures and compared to IQ matched TD (n = 24) and ASD (n = 20) controls.
An ASD diagnosis was no more common in EOED than in TD controls. However, repetitive and stereotyped behavior was more often observed in the EOED group and, compared to TD controls, there was a trend (p = .07) toward greater autistic social impairment in EOED.
Whilst participants with EOED did not show increased ASD prevalence, they did have elevated autistic traits of clinical significance, particularly repetitive and stereotyped behavior. Further work is required to determine whether inflexibility and social difficulties in EOED have identical phenomenology and etiology to those seen in ASD. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)