Research Papers

Our research group has done work in different aspects of the ASC and ED comorbidity.

Understanding the comorbidity

Publication

Edited by Kate Tchanturia (2021)

[BOOK] Supporting Autistic People with Eating Disorders: A Guide to Adapting Treatment and Supporting Recovery

This book explores the link between autism and eating disorders through testimonies from practitioners, service users and carers. Combining research findings, case studies and first-hand accounts, it provides insights into how individuals on the autism spectrum can be supported towards full recovery from an eating disorder.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Publication

Kinnaird, E., & Tchanturia, K. (2020)

Looking beneath the surface: Distinguishing between common features in autism and anorexia nervosa

This paper compares the clinical features between autism and anorexia nervosa, outlining the similarities and potential differences in presentation. Building on this, the article then discusses the implications for diagnosing and treating co-occurring autism and anorexia nervosa.

Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy

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For main stakeholders

Publication

Kinnaird E, Norton C, Stewart C, Tchanturia K (2019)

Same behaviours, different reasons: what do patients with co-occurring anorexia and autism want from treatment?

This study interviewed women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and high levels of autistic traits to understand how standard eating disorders treatment programmes could be adapted to better suit their needs. Potential adaptations include improving clinician’s understanding of autism related behaviours, introducing cognitive remediation to address the rigid thought patterns associated with autism, introducing emotion skills training, and adapting refeeding programmes to accommodate patient’s sensory sensitivities.

International Review of Psychiatry

Publication

Adamson J, Kinnaird E, Glennon D, Oakley M, Tchanturia K (2020)

You have to leave the autism at the door: carers’ views on autism and eating disorders co-morbidity: A qualitative study

This study interviewed 10 carers of individuals diagnosed with autism and anorexia nervosa (AN). All of the carers felt that autism played a significant role in the development and maintenance of their daughters’ AN. Other difficulties included problems with getting an autism diagnosis and the perception that eating disorder services did not accept or adapt around the condition. As a result, families expressed feelings of frustration and isolation especially because they also perceived a lack of support and specific resources from clinical services. It was suggested that future research should investigate the best way to improve clinician awareness and knowledge in this area.

BJPsych Open

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Treatment evaluation

Publication

Tchanturia K, Larsson E, Adamson J, Westwood H (2019)

Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder in anorexia nervosa: A naturalistic study in an inpatient treatment programme

Anorexia nervosa (AN) patients with higher autistic traits are more likely to have more severe eating disorder and depressive symptoms, and poorer work and social functioning. This suggests that individuals with autistic characteristics may require longer or more intensive treatment for AN.

Autism

Publication

Adamson J, Leppanen J, Murin M, Tchanturia K (2018)

Effectiveness of Emotional Skills Training for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa with Autistic Symptoms, Group or Individual Format

Cognitive remediation and emotional skills training (CREST) targets social-emotional difficulties. The training aims to help patients identify and describe their own emotions and express their needs in a safe way, as this could be very difficult for patients with anorexia and autistic traits. This study shows that CREST in both individual and group formats was effective in improving patients’ motivation. Individual CREST led to an improvement in both confidence and description of emotions. Both patients with and without autistic traits were shown to benefit from the treatment.

European Eating Disorder Review

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Diagnostic aspects

Publication

Sedgewick F, Kerr- Gaffney J, Leppanen J, Tchanturia K (2019)

Anorexia nervosa, autism, and the ADOS: how appropriate is the new algorithm in identifying cases?

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) has been the "gold-standard" tool for diagnosing autism traits. Its diagnostic algorithm has been revised lately. As a result, the algorithm now identifies more women as potentially being on the autism spectrum than the old version. This paper points out that more anorexia nervosa (AN) patients and recovered individuals scored above cut-off on the new algorithm, suggesting that women who experience AN may have more persisting autistic traits.

Frontiers in Psychiatry

Publication

Westwood H, Eisler I, Mandy W, Leppanen J, Treasure J, Tchanturia K (2016)

Using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient to measure Autistic Traits in Anorexia Nervosa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

A review of studies that used the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) (a 50-item questionnaire consisting of five domains: social skills; attention switching; attention to detail; communication and imagination) or abbreviated version (AQ-10) to examine whether patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) have higher levels of autistic traits. This analysis offers strong evidence that individuals with AN tend to score higher on the AQ and AQ-10, suggesting significant difficulties with social skills, communication and flexibility.

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

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Conference

Publication

The PEACE Team (2020)

PEACE Conference 2020

The 2020 PEACE conference where we presented how the pathway was implemented and related research evidence. Recording is available online.