Autistic traits and social responsiveness: The relationship between autistic traits and comorbid psychiatric symptoms in adolescents with anorexia nervosa


Noropsikiyatri Arsivi, vol.58, no.4, pp.283-288, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.29399/npa.27175
  • Journal Name: Noropsikiyatri Arsivi
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EMBASE, Psycinfo, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.283-288
  • Keywords: Adolescents, Anorexia nervosa, Autism, Autistic traits, Comorbidity, Social responsiveness
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: It is known that patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) display social difficulties like social responsiveness and high levels of autistic behaviors such as rigidity, narrow interests of food and weight; however it is not clear whether they have comorbid Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or it is about acute phase of illness. In this study it is aimed to investigate autistic traits and social responsiveness in adolescents with AN. Methods: Study group was consisted of 39 female AN patients aged between 12-18 years. Control group was consisted of 34 female adolescents who did not have any psychiatric disorder. K-SADS-PL was applied to all participants in order to detect the psychiatric disorders. Autism traits and social responsiveness were evaluated using Social Responsiveness Scale. All adolescents of the study were administered The Eating Attitude Test, Beck Depression Inventory, Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Disorders, Maudsley Obsesive Compulsive Inventory. Results: Results of the study indicated that adolescents with AN had higher symptoms of depression, anxiety and autism-like symptom clusters; and lower social responsiveness. Psychiatric comorbidities were not associated with these difficulties. Conclusion: The results show that AN patients have an impairment of social responsiveness, the impairment seems to be associated with AN regardless of psychiatric comorbidities. Despite these two disorders are considered unrelated, they have several traits in common. These results suggest that there may be a common pathogenesis between ASD and AN.