Ratings of Broader Autism Phenotype and Personality Traits in Optimal Outcomes from Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

The study examines whether “optimal outcome” (OO) children, despite no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), exhibit personality traits often found in those with ASD. Nine zero acquaintance raters evaluated Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) and Big Five personality traits of 22 OO individuals, 27 high functioning individuals with ASD (HFA), and 23 typically developing (TD) peers. HFA children displayed higher ratings than their peers on all BAP traits. OO were indistinguishable from TD, with the exception of greater extraversion (e.g., increased talkativeness), a potential tendency to be less emotionally stable, and pragmatic language deficits such as getting sidetracked in conversation. Overall, OO individuals are not showing BAP characteristics, but may be subject to other mild ADHD-like characteristics.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Katherine Tyson, Eva Troyb, Michael Rosenthal, Molly Helt, Robert T. Schultz, and Michael C. Stevens for their assistance with this project, our undergraduate research assistants, the parents and children who participated in this study, and the funding agency, the National Institutes of Mental Health (R01MH076189).

Author Contributions

This research formed the basis of JS’s Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. JS collected the data. AO, MB, CC, IME, NR, and DB made substantial contributions to the design, analysis and interpretation of the data, and manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Joyce Suh.

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Suh, J., Orinstein, A., Barton, M. et al. Ratings of Broader Autism Phenotype and Personality Traits in Optimal Outcomes from Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 3505–3518 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2868-4

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Outcome
  • Optimal
  • Personality
  • Broader autism phenotype