4 years ago

Relation of Psychiatric Symptoms with Epilepsy, Asthma, and Allergy in Youth with ASD vs. Psychiatry Referrals

Kenneth D. Gadow, Rebecca J. Weber


The present study aimed to characterize the association of psychopathology with the clinical correlates of epilepsy, asthma, and allergy within and between neurobehavioral syndromes. Participants were consecutively evaluated youth (6–18 years, 75 % male) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 589) and non-ASD outpatient psychiatry referrals (n = 653). Informants completed a background questionnaire (parents) and a psychiatric symptom severity rating scale (parents, teachers). Youth with ASD had higher rates of epilepsy and allergy but not asthma than psychiatry referrals, even when analyses were limited to youth with IQ ≥ 70. Somatic conditions evidenced variable associations with medical services utilization, educational interventions, family income, and maternal education. Youth with ASD with versus without epilepsy had more severe ASD social deficits (parents’ ratings) and less severe ASD repetitive behaviors (teachers’ ratings). Epilepsy was associated with more severe depression, mania, and schizophrenia symptoms in youth with ASD. Youth with allergy (psychiatry referrals only) had more severe anxiety and depression symptoms (parents’ ratings) but less severe aggression (teachers’ ratings) thus providing evidence of both context- and diagnostic-specificity. Youth with ASD versus non-ASD psychiatry referrals evidence a variable pattern of relations between somatic conditions and a range of clinical correlates, which suggests that the biologic substrates and psychosocial concomitants of neurodevelopmental disorders and their co-occurring somatic conditions may interact to produce unique clinical phenotypes.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10802-016-0212-2

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-016-0212-2

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