Asperger syndrome in childhood – personality dimensions in adult life: temperament, character and outcome trajectories

Helles, A., Gillberg, I. C., Gillberg, C. , Billstedt, E. and Wallinius, M. (2016) Asperger syndrome in childhood – personality dimensions in adult life: temperament, character and outcome trajectories. BJPsych Open, 2(3), pp. 210-216. (doi: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.116.002741) (PMID:27703778) (PMCID:PMC4995175)

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Background: Temperament and character have been shown to be important factors in understanding psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorder. Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have repeatedly been shown to have a distinct temperament and character, but this has not been evaluated in relation to psychiatric comorbidity and ASD diagnostic stability. Aims: To examine temperament and character in males that were diagnosed with ASD in childhood and followed prospectively over almost two decades. Method: Temperament and character were assessed in 40 adult males with a childhood diagnosis of ASD. Results were analysed by the stability of ASD diagnosis over time and current psychiatric comorbidity. Results: Three distinct temperament and character profiles emerged from the data. Those no longer meeting criteria for ASD had high reward dependence while those with a stable ASD diagnosis and psychiatric comorbidity showed elevated harm avoidance and low self-directedness and cooperativeness. Finally, those with a stable ASD and no comorbidity showed low novelty seeking and somewhat elevated harm avoidance. Conclusions: Temperament and character are important factors correlated with long-term diagnostic stability and psychiatric comorbidity in males diagnosed with ASD in childhood.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The study was supported by funding from the Centre for Research and Development in Gavleborg and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic in Gavle, VG Region Scientific Fund, AnnMarie and Per Ahlqvist Foundation, the Jerring Fund, Wilhelm and Martina Lundgren Foundation, Petter Silfverskiold Foundation, Region Kronoberg, Golje Foundation, the Swedish Child Neuropsychiatry Science Foundation and the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gillberg, Professor Christopher
Authors: Helles, A., Gillberg, I. C., Gillberg, C., Billstedt, E., and Wallinius, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:BJPsych Open
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):2056-4724
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Royal College of Psychiatrists
First Published:First published in BJPsych Open 2:210-216
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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