Autism traits in individuals experiencing a first episode of psychosis: Impact on quality of life and functioning

Poster A70, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Katharine Chisholm1, Ashleigh Lin2, Renate Reniers1, Matthew Broome3, Stephen Wood1,4; 1School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, 2Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, 4Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Melbourne

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and psychotic disorders share phenotypic similarities and may co-occur at elevated rates. Additionally, psychosis and autism are both considered to exist on extended phenotypic continua, meaning co-occurrence and overlap at the trait level as well as at the diagnostic level may be important. 99 individuals presenting with a first episode of psychosis to Early Intervention Services in Birmingham, UK, were recruited. 4 participants had an existing diagnosis of ASD. Traits of autism were found at elevated rates in the sample. Functioning and quality of life, including social, vocational, and engagement in life were compared between those experiencing high levels of positive psychotic symptoms and high levels of autism traits (high/high individuals), high psychosis and low autism (high/low), lower psychosis and high autism (low/high), and those with lower levels of psychosis and autism traits (low/low). High/high individuals experienced significantly poorer quality of life on all subscales including social quality of life, than low/low individuals. High/high individuals also experienced significantly poorer overall quality of life, engagement in life, and vocational quality of life than low/high individuals, and significantly poorer social quality of life and engagement in life than high/low individuals. Autism traits were observed at elevated rates in the first episode psychosis population. For individuals experiencing a first episode of psychosis, the results suggest a combination of high symptoms of psychosis and high traits of autism will have a negative additive effect on quality of life and functioning.

Topic Area: First Episode Psychosis

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