An investigation into the relationship between eating disorder psychopathology and autistic symptomatology in a non-clinical sample

E Coombs, Mark J Brosnan, R Bryant-Waugh, Suzanne M Skevington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective Female adults with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN) have been found to score higher than healthy controls on a questionnaire that measures characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This research investigated the relationship between eating disorder (ED) and ASD symptomatology in a non-clinical sample, with an additional focus on prenatal testosterone (pT) levels. Design A cross-sectional research design was used. The selected age group of both males and females allowed for a focus on early onset of ED symptomatology in both sexes. Methods Self-reported questionnaire data from the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) were collected from 132 schoolchildren (61 boys, 71 girls) aged 11 to 14, with no recorded psychiatric diagnoses. Digit ratio (2D:4D) measures to index levels of pT exposure were also obtained. Results A significant relationship between levels of ED symptomatology and ASD symptomatology was identified. Particularly strong relationships were identified between the EAT-26 and the attention to detail and communication subscales of the AQ. Few relationships were found for digit ratios. Conclusion The results extend previous research from a sample with a diagnosis of AN to a non-clinical population. Those registering higher levels of ED symptomatology also reported higher levels of attention to detail and communication difficulties associated with ASD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-338
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Fingerprint

Psychopathology
Anorexia Nervosa
Autistic Disorder
Testosterone
Communication
Research
Mental Disorders
Research Design
Age Groups
Eating
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Population
Surveys and Questionnaires

Cite this

An investigation into the relationship between eating disorder psychopathology and autistic symptomatology in a non-clinical sample. / Coombs, E; Brosnan, Mark J; Bryant-Waugh, R; Skevington, Suzanne M.

In: British Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 50, No. 3, 09.2011, p. 326-338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1eabcc8008334787b5b03064562d8f77,
title = "An investigation into the relationship between eating disorder psychopathology and autistic symptomatology in a non-clinical sample",
abstract = "Objective Female adults with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN) have been found to score higher than healthy controls on a questionnaire that measures characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This research investigated the relationship between eating disorder (ED) and ASD symptomatology in a non-clinical sample, with an additional focus on prenatal testosterone (pT) levels. Design A cross-sectional research design was used. The selected age group of both males and females allowed for a focus on early onset of ED symptomatology in both sexes. Methods Self-reported questionnaire data from the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) were collected from 132 schoolchildren (61 boys, 71 girls) aged 11 to 14, with no recorded psychiatric diagnoses. Digit ratio (2D:4D) measures to index levels of pT exposure were also obtained. Results A significant relationship between levels of ED symptomatology and ASD symptomatology was identified. Particularly strong relationships were identified between the EAT-26 and the attention to detail and communication subscales of the AQ. Few relationships were found for digit ratios. Conclusion The results extend previous research from a sample with a diagnosis of AN to a non-clinical population. Those registering higher levels of ED symptomatology also reported higher levels of attention to detail and communication difficulties associated with ASD.",
author = "E Coombs and Brosnan, {Mark J} and R Bryant-Waugh and Skevington, {Suzanne M}",
year = "2011",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1348/014466510X524408",
language = "English",
volume = "50",
pages = "326--338",
journal = "British Journal of Clinical Psychology",
issn = "0144-6657",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - An investigation into the relationship between eating disorder psychopathology and autistic symptomatology in a non-clinical sample

AU - Coombs, E

AU - Brosnan, Mark J

AU - Bryant-Waugh, R

AU - Skevington, Suzanne M

PY - 2011/9

Y1 - 2011/9

N2 - Objective Female adults with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN) have been found to score higher than healthy controls on a questionnaire that measures characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This research investigated the relationship between eating disorder (ED) and ASD symptomatology in a non-clinical sample, with an additional focus on prenatal testosterone (pT) levels. Design A cross-sectional research design was used. The selected age group of both males and females allowed for a focus on early onset of ED symptomatology in both sexes. Methods Self-reported questionnaire data from the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) were collected from 132 schoolchildren (61 boys, 71 girls) aged 11 to 14, with no recorded psychiatric diagnoses. Digit ratio (2D:4D) measures to index levels of pT exposure were also obtained. Results A significant relationship between levels of ED symptomatology and ASD symptomatology was identified. Particularly strong relationships were identified between the EAT-26 and the attention to detail and communication subscales of the AQ. Few relationships were found for digit ratios. Conclusion The results extend previous research from a sample with a diagnosis of AN to a non-clinical population. Those registering higher levels of ED symptomatology also reported higher levels of attention to detail and communication difficulties associated with ASD.

AB - Objective Female adults with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN) have been found to score higher than healthy controls on a questionnaire that measures characteristics associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This research investigated the relationship between eating disorder (ED) and ASD symptomatology in a non-clinical sample, with an additional focus on prenatal testosterone (pT) levels. Design A cross-sectional research design was used. The selected age group of both males and females allowed for a focus on early onset of ED symptomatology in both sexes. Methods Self-reported questionnaire data from the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) were collected from 132 schoolchildren (61 boys, 71 girls) aged 11 to 14, with no recorded psychiatric diagnoses. Digit ratio (2D:4D) measures to index levels of pT exposure were also obtained. Results A significant relationship between levels of ED symptomatology and ASD symptomatology was identified. Particularly strong relationships were identified between the EAT-26 and the attention to detail and communication subscales of the AQ. Few relationships were found for digit ratios. Conclusion The results extend previous research from a sample with a diagnosis of AN to a non-clinical population. Those registering higher levels of ED symptomatology also reported higher levels of attention to detail and communication difficulties associated with ASD.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79961141082&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/014466510X524408

U2 - 10.1348/014466510X524408

DO - 10.1348/014466510X524408

M3 - Article

VL - 50

SP - 326

EP - 338

JO - British Journal of Clinical Psychology

JF - British Journal of Clinical Psychology

SN - 0144-6657

IS - 3

ER -