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Title: Autistic traits and cognition in individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder
Author: Barber, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 8932
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis focuses on exploring similarities between obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Part 1 reviews research literature examining the overlap of symptomatology and traits across the disorders. The reviewed studies provide evidence for elevated levels of ASD traits in some individuals with OCD and vice versa with variable results as to which specific traits this applies. None of the reviewed studies provides sufficient evidence to support or refute explanations for the nature of this apparent overlap in traits across disorders. Part 2 reports an investigation into autistic cognition in a population of adults with OCD in relation to their self-reported autistic traits. Although the study provides some tentative evidence for some individuals with OCD having neurodevelopmental aetiology (e.g. atypical neurocognitive performances), group and multiple single case series analysis failed to identify relationships between autistic cognition and autistic traits at group and individual levels respectively. Whether the apparent elevation of self-reported autistic traits identified in this OCD population represents genuine ASD symptomatology is unclear and explanations for these ambiguous results are proposed together with directions for future research. This investigation formed part of a joint study with Josselyn Hellriegel (trainee clinical psychologist, UCL) (Hellriegel, 2014). Part 3 discusses some of the practical, methodological and ethical complexities inherent in conducting research with a clinical population with significant mental health difficulties such as OCD, including challenges in recruitment, risk management and neurocognitive assessment. The importance of flexibility both in research design and analysis is emphasised. Benefits of employing multiple single case series analysis in heterogeneous populations such as OCD are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available