Aug 7, 2013

Do girls with anorexia nervosa have elevated autistic traits?

Molecular Autism
Simon Baron-CohenSally J Wheelwright

Abstract

Patients with anorexia may have elevated autistic traits. In this study, we tested test whether patients with anorexia nervosa (anorexia) have an elevated score on a dimensional measure of autistic traits, the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), as well as on trait measures relevant to the autism spectrum: the Empathy Quotient (EQ), and the Systemizing Quotient (SQ). Two groups were tested: (1) female adolescents with anorexia: n = 66, aged 12 to 18 years; and (2) female adolescents without anorexia: n =1,609, aged 12 to 18 years. Both groups were tested using the AQ, EQ, and SQ, via the parent-report adolescent versions for patients aged 12 to 15 years old, and the self-report adult versions for patients aged over 16 years. As predicted, the patients with anorexia had a higher AQ and SQ. Their EQ score was reduced, but only for the parent-report version in the younger age group. Using EQ-SQ scores to calculate 'cognitive types', patients with anorexia were more likely to show the Type S profile (systemizing (S) better than empathy (E)), compared with typical females. Females with anorexia have elevated autistic traits. Clinicians should consider if a focus on autistic traits might be helpful in the assessment and treatment of anore...Continue Reading

  • References49
  • Citations28

References

  • References49
  • Citations28

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Anorexia
Autistic Disorder
Anorexia Symptom
Anorexia Nervosa
EAF2 gene

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