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

Journal article
Authors Adam Helles
I Carina Gillberg
Christopher Gillberg
Eva Billstedt
Märta Wallinius
Published in BJPsych Open
Volume 2
Issue 3
Pages 210-216
Publication year 2016
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 210-216
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1192/bjpo.bp.116...
Subject categories Psychiatry

Abstract

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.

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