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

  • Adam Helles (a1), I. Carina Gillberg (a2), Christopher Gillberg (a2), Eva Billstedt (a2) and Märta Wallinius (a3)...
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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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Corresponding author
Adam Helles, Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden. Email: adam.helles@gnc.gu.se
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

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

  • Adam Helles (a1), I. Carina Gillberg (a2), Christopher Gillberg (a2), Eva Billstedt (a2) and Märta Wallinius (a3)...
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