Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 863–870 | Cite as

Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents with Autism Compared to Young People with Intellectual Disability

  • Avril V. BreretonEmail author
  • Bruce J. Tonge
  • Stewart L. Einfeld
Original Paper

Abstract

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a specific pattern of behavioural, communication and social problems. Additional mental health problems are often poorly understood and undetected. This study investigates the level and pattern of emotional and behavioural problems in young people with autism compared with children with intellectual disability (ID). Subjects were 381 young people with autism and a representative group of 581 Australian young people with ID aged 4–18 years. Parents/carers provided details of the emotional and behavioural problems of their child using the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC-P). Young people with autism were found to suffer from significantly higher levels of psychopathology than young people with ID. The implications of this finding are discussed.

Keywords

Autism Psychopathology Intellectual disability Comorbidity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all the participating families, the specialist autism assessment services in Melbourne and Geelong (Victoria, Australia), the rural Murray-Murrumbidgee region of New South Wales (Australia), the statewide Autism Association of South Australia assessment service, and the New South Wales Autistic Children’s Association. This research was supported in part by a PHRDC (NH&MRC) Program Grant (No. 95614).

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Press.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2002). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders—text revised. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Press.Google Scholar
  3. Birmaher, B., Quintana, H., & Greenville, L. L. (1988). Methylphenidate treatment of hyperactive autistic children. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 27, 248–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bolton, P., Pickles, A., Murphy, M., & Rutter, M. (1998). Autism, effective and other psychiatric disorders: Patterns of familial aggregation. Psychological Medicine, 28, 385–395.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradley, E., Summers, J., Wood, H., & Bryson, S. (2004). Comparing rates of psychiatric and behavior disorders in adolescents and young adults with severe intellectual disability with and without autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 151–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brereton, A., Tonge, B., Mackinnon, A., & Einfeld, S. (2002). Screening young people for autism with the developmental behaviour checklist. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 1368–1375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryson, S. E., & Smith, I. M. (1998). Epidemiology of Autism: Prevalence, Associated Characteristics, and Implications For Research And Service Delivery. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 4, 97–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cormack, K., Brown, A., & Hastings, R. (2000). Behavioural and emotional difficulties in students attending schools for children and adolescents with severe intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 44, 124–129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeMyer, M. K., Hington, J. N., & Jackson, R. K. (1981). Infantile autism reviewed: A decade of research. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 7, 388–451.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Dekker, M., Nunn, R., Einfeld, S., Tonge, B., & Koot, H. (2002). Assessing emotional and behavioural problems in children with intellectual disability: Revisiting the factor structure of the developmental behaviour checklist. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 601–610.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, B. J. (1991). Psychometric and clinical assessment of psychopathology in developmentally disabled children. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 17, 147–154.Google Scholar
  12. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, B. J. (1992). Manual for the developmental behaviour checklist. Clayton, Melbourne and Sydney: Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and School of Psychiatry, University of NSW.Google Scholar
  13. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, B. J. (1995). The developmental behaviour checklist: The development and validation of an instrument to assess behavioural and emotional disturbance in children and adolescents with mental retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 25, 81–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, J. (1996a). Population prevalence of psychopathology in children and adolescents with intellectual disability: I. Rationale and methods. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40, 91–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, J. (1996b). Population prevalence of psychopathology in children and adolescents with intellectual disability: II. Epidemiological findings. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40, 99–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Einfeld, S. L., & Tonge, B. T. (2002). Manual for the developmental behaviour checklist (second edition)—primary carer version (DBC-P-P) and teacher version (DBC-P-T). Melbourne and Sydney: Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology and School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales.Google Scholar
  17. Einfeld, S. L., Tonge, B. J., & Florio, T. (1997). Behavioural and emotional disturbance in individuals with Williams syndrome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 102, 45–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Einfeld, S. L., Smith, A., Durvalula, S., Florio, T., & Tonge, B. J. (1999). Behavioural and emotional disturbance in Prader – Willi Syndrome. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 82, 123–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Einfeld, S., Tonge, B., & Rees, V. (2001). Longitudinal course of behavioural and emotional problems in Williams syndrome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 106, 73–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fombonne, E. (1997). Autism: Recent research findings. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 10, 373–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Frazier, J., Biederman, J., Bellordre, C., Garfield, S., Geller, D. Coffey, B., & Faraone, S. (2001). Should the diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder be considered in children with pervasive developmental disorder? Journal of Attention Disorders, 4, 203–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frith, U. (Ed.), (1991). Autism and asperger syndrome. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Gadow, K., DeVincent, C., Pomeroy, J., & Azizian, A. (2004). Psychiatric symptoms in preschool children with PDD and clinic and comparison samples. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 379–393.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ghaziuddin, M., Ghaziuddin, N., & Greden, J. (2002). Depression in persons with autism: Implications for research and clinical care. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 299–306.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ghaziuddin, M., Tsai, L., & Ghaziuddin, N. (1992). Clonidine for autism. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 2, 239–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gillberg, C. (1998). The longterm course of autistic disorders: Update on follow up studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 97, 99–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gillberg, C., & Coleman, M. (1992). The biology of the autistic syndromes. London: Mackeith Press.Google Scholar
  28. Gillberg, C., & Billstedt, E. (2000). Autism and Asperger syndrome: Coexistence with other clinical disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 102, 321–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gillberg, C., & Steffenburg, S. (1987). Outcome and prognostic factors in infantile autism and similar conditions: A population-based study of 46 cases followed through puberty. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17, 273–287.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gillot, A., Furniss, F., & Walter, A. (2001). Anxiety in high-functioning children with autism. Autism, 4, 117–132.Google Scholar
  31. Goldstein, S., & Schwebach, A. (2004). The comorbidity of pervasive developmental disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Results of a retrospective chart review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 329–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gullone, E., Cummins, R. A., & King, N.J. (1995) Self reported fears: A comparison study of youths with and without an intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40, 227–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hastings, R., Brown, T., Mount, R., & Cormack, K. (2001). Exploration of psychometric properties of the developmental behaviour checklist. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 423–431.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hoare, P., Harris, M., Jackson, P., & Kerley, S. (1998). A community survey of children with severe intellectual disability and their families: Psychological adjustment, carer distress and the effect of respite care. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 42, 218–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Howlin, P. (1998). Children with autism and asperger syndrome. A guide for practitioners and carers. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  36. Kenway, E. The assessment of hyperactivity in children with mental retardation using a multi-purpose behaviour scale: A validity study. Unpublished Masters thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney, 1994.Google Scholar
  37. Kim, J., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S., Streiner, D., & Wilson, F. (2000). The prevalence of mood problems among children with autism and Asperger syndrome. Autism, 4, 117–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. King, N. J., Ollendick, T. H., & Tonge, B. J. (1995). School refusal: Assessment and treatment. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  39. Koskentausta, T., & Almqvist, F. (2004). Developmental behaviour checklist (DBC-P) in the assessment of psychopathology in Finnish children with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 29, 27–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Krug, D. A., Arick, J., & Almond, P. (1980). Behavior checklist for identifying severely handicapped individuals with high levels of autistic behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 21, 221–229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lainhart, J. E., & Folstein, S. E. (1994). Affective disorders in people with autism: A review of published cases. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 587–601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lord, C., Bristol, M. M., & Schopler, E. (1993). Early intervention for children with autism and related developmental disorders. In E. Schopler, M. E. Van Bourgondien, & M. M. Bristol (Eds.), Pre-school issues in autism. Current issues in autism. (Vol. 276, pp. 199–221). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  43. Lord, C., Schopler, E., & Revicki, D. (1982). Sex differences in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 12, 317–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Loveland, K. A., & Tunali-Kotoski, B. (1997). The school age child with autism. In D. J. Cohen, & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (2nd ed.) (pp. 283–308). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  45. McDougle, C. J., Kresch, L. E., Goodman, W. K., Naylor, S. T., Volkmar, F. R., Cohen, D. J., & Price, L. H. (1995). A case-controlled study of repetitive thoughts and behaviour in adults with autistic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 772–777.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Rutter. M. (1970). Autistic children: Infancy to adulthood. Seminars in Psychiatry, 2, 435–450.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Rutter M. (1978). Developmental issues and prognosis. In M. Rutter, & E. Schopler (Eds.), Autism: A reappraisal of concepts and treatment (pp. 497–505). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  48. Rutter, M., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. (2003). Using sex differences in psychopathology to study causal mechanisms: Unifying issues and research strategies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 1092–1115.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schopler, E., & Mesibov, G. (Eds.), (1986). Social Behaviour in Autism. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  50. Schopler, E., Reichler, R. J., Bashford, A., Lansing, M. D., & Marcus, L. M. (1990). Individualized Assessment and Treatment for Autistic and Developmentally Disabled Children: Psychoeducational Profile Revised (PEP-R). Austin, TX: Pro-ed.Google Scholar
  51. Schopler, E., Reichler, R. J., DeVellis, R. F., & Daly, K. (1980). Toward objective classification of childhood autism: Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 10, 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smalley, S. L., McCracken, J., & Tanguay, P. (1995). Autism, affective disorders, and social phobia. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 60, 19–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Steinhausen, H.-C., & Metzke, C. (2004). Differentiating the behavioural profile in autism and mental retardation and testing of a screener. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 13, 214–220.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Sverd, J. (2003). Psychiatric disorders in individuals with pervasive developmental disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 9, 111–127.Google Scholar
  55. Tonge, B. J. (1999). Psychopathology of children with developmental disabilities. In N. Bouras (Ed.), Psychiatric and behavioural disorders in developmental disabilities and mental retardation (pp. 157–173). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Tonge, B. J., Dissanayake, C., & Brereton, A. V. (1994). Autism: Fifty years on from Kanner. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 30, 102–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tonge, B. J., Einfeld, S. L., Krupinski, J., Mackenzie, A., McLaughlin, M., Florio, T., & Nunn, R. J. (1996). The use of factor analysis for ascertaining patterns of psychopathology in children with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40, 198–207.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wechsler, D. (1981). Manual for the wechsler intelligence scale—revised. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  59. Wechsler, D. (1989). Wechsler pre-school and primary scale of intelligence-revised. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  60. Wing, L. (1982). Language, social, and cognitive impairments in autism and severe mental retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 11, 31–44. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avril V. Brereton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruce J. Tonge
    • 1
  • Stewart L. Einfeld
    • 2
  1. 1.Monash Medical CentreMonash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & PsychologyClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations