Comparison of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with and Without Schizophrenia Spectrum Traits: Gender, Season of Birth, and Mental Health Risk Factors
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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with and without co-occurring schizophrenia spectrum traits (SST) were examined for differences in co-occurring psychiatric symptoms, background characteristics, and mental health risk factors. Participating mothers and teachers completed a DSM-IV-referenced rating scale and a background questionnaire (mothers only) describing 147 children (6–12 years) with ASD. There was a clear pattern of group differences in co-occurring psychiatric symptom severity (+SST > SST−) and background characteristics. Children with impairing SST had more mental health risk factors. Girls were more likely to be classified SST according to mothers’ ratings. Children born in spring–summer were more likely to be classified non-SST by teachers’ ratings. Findings provide tentative evidence that SST may be a useful marker of behavioral heterogeneity within the ASD clinical phenotype.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Schizophrenia spectrum disorder Season of birth Gender
Dr. Gadow is with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY; Dr. DeVincent is with the Department of Radiology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. This study was supported, in part, by the Matt and Debra Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders. The authors wish to thank Dr. John Pomeroy for supervising the ASD diagnoses, and three anonymous reviewers for providing very helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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