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An investigation of the relationship between functional impairment and autistic traits in a clinical population

Varrall, R; (2011) An investigation of the relationship between functional impairment and autistic traits in a clinical population. Doctoral thesis , University College London. Green open access

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Abstract

Aims: Based on theories of dimensionality and fractionation of the autistic triad, this study investigates the role of autistic traits in adaptive functioning. The suitability of current diagnostic thresholds and classification criteria are explored with particular interest in partial and mild sub-threshold autistic presentations. Method: Seventy-two young people (mean age = 11.03 years), referred for assessment at a specialist autism spectrum disorder (ASD) clinic were administered the Vinelands Adaptive Behaviour Scales; parent report and direct observational measures of autistic symptomatology; intelligence tests; and the Repetitive Behaviour Scale-Revised. Participants were initially compared according to diagnostic group. Correlational and regression models were then used to investigate relationships between IQ, autistic symptomatology and adaptive functioning. Results: Compared to population norms, adaptive functioning was impaired in all diagnostic groups. Compared to Asperger’s disorder (n=25) and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (n=10), the autistic disorder (n=24) and broader autism phenotype (n=13) groups showed the greatest difficulties. IQ and parent-reported reciprocal social interaction impairments were predictive of adaptive functioning difficulties in this clinical sample. Agreement between parent-report and direct observational measures of autistic symptomatology was low. Conclusion: Partial and sub threshold presentations show significant adaptive functioning disabilities at comparable levels to diagnoses with full triad of impairments. Further prospective studies are required to account for and explore intervention and longitudinal trajectories.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An investigation of the relationship between functional impairment and autistic traits in a clinical population
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis in two volumes: volume 2 is restricted.
Keywords: autism, vineland, ados, 3Di, adaptive functioning, ASD.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1326291
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