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Title: The relationship between autism spectrum disorder features and treatment completion in eating disorders : implications for treatment in clinical settings
Author: Huke , Vanessa Elizabeth Selina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 4168
Awarding Body: St George's, University of London
Current Institution: St George's, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions and premature treatment termination from eating disorder services is high. Therefore the development of suitable psychological therapies is essential. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) traits have been noted as higher in eating disordered populations compared to control groups. As a result, it is important to discover whether high traits of ASD affect an individual's ability to adhere to treatment. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether traits of ASD are related to the premature termination of treatment in eating disorder populations. Method: 71 participants were recruited from two eating disorder services. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires investigating ASD traits, disordered eating and clinical co-variates. Participants also completed four neuropsychological tasks that investigated cognitive traits associated with ASD. A sub-group of participants completed the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO) to investigate whether high traits of ASD in eating disorders would relate to categorical ASD. Results: The overall rate of premature termination of treatment was 37.5%. High ASD traits were found to be predictive of treatment completion (p=.036 at logistic regression analysis). Also, a significant positive correlation was discovered between obsessive compulsive traits and ASD traits (p=.001). However, it was also discovered that obsessive-compulsive disorder features significantly decreased with weight gain, whilst ASD features remained constant. Overall 28.1% of participants met criteria for high ASD features (Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) score >=26). Ten percent of participants met screening criteria for possible categorical ASD (AQ score >=32) and 2.86% met criteria for categorical ASD using DISCO analysis/previous diagnosis. Conclusion: Those who reported higher ASD levels were more likely to adhere to treatment. However, treatment completion does not necessarily mean recovery. Longitudinal research is needed to follow up on participants of this study to examine recovery and ASD traits.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available