ASD traits among youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Donna L Griffiths, Lara J. Farrell, Allison M Waters, Susan W. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Research has shown high rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders among samples of youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (Farrell et al., Psychiatry Res 199(2):115-123, 2012; Lewin et al., Psychiatry Res 178(2):317-322, 2010; POTS Team, J Am Med Assoc 292(16):1969-1976, 2004). Autism and autistic traits co-occur at high rates within clinical samples of youth with OCD (Ivarsson and Melin in J Anxiety Disord 22(6):969-978, 2008; Stewart et al. in Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 1-9, 2016). This study extends the literature by examining the relationship between ASD traits, family accommodation, and functional impairment in a sample of youth with OCD across a wide age range (n = 80; aged 7-17 years). Results indicated that autistic traits, as measured by the social responsiveness scale (SRS), were elevated in 32.5% of youth (based on a T-score of 66T and above) relative to typically developing youth, as well as youth with non-autism-related psychiatric disorders (Constantino and Gruber in Social responsiveness scale, Western Psychogical Services, Torrance, 2012). Furthermore, 27.5% of youth scored within a moderate range (66T-75T) and 5% of youth scored within a severe range (76T or higher) on the SRS, typical of children with ASD (Constantino and Gruber in Social responsiveness scale, Western Psychogical Services, Torrance, 2012). Additionally, ASD traits were associated with greater functional impairment above OCD severity. Furthermore, family accommodation mediated the relationship between ASD traits and functional impairment. Implications of these findings are discussed in the context of clinical assessment and direction for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911–921
Number of pages11
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number6
Early online date24 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • OCD
  • autism
  • autistic traits
  • functional impairment


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