B3610 - Understanding the relationship between autism and personality disorder an epidemiological study - 04/09/2020

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Paul Moran | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Dheeraj Rai, Rebecca Pearson, Sarah Douglas
Title of project: 
Understanding the relationship between autism and personality disorder: an epidemiological study
Proposal summary: 

People with autism and those with personality disorder often experience difficulties in understanding and responding to their emotions and managing relationships with others. The overlapping nature of these symptoms means that health professionals sometimes find it difficult to distinguish the presence of autism from personality disorder in an individual. To date, very little research has examined the diagnostic overlap between autism and personality disorder and the potential links, as well as the differences between these two conditions, are not well understood. For example, it is unclear whether any features of autism are associated with the future development of personality disorder.

We propose to undertake the first robust scientific study of these issues, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a world leading cohort study. We will accelerate knowledge in the field by clearly establishing whether a link exists between autism and personality disorder. We will explore a wide range of biological, psychological and social factors that might be driving the association, ranging from genes through to the experience of being bullied as a child. Our study has the potential to make a difference to the lives of people with personality disorder and autism. This is because the knowledge that we will develop about the potential pathways between autism and personality disorder will improve the support and care offered to people with these conditions in the future.

Impact of research: 
Beyond understanding the relative risk of personality disorder in individuals with autism, it is also important to understand the nature of any risk or protective factors on a pathway from autistic traits to later personality disorder/personality difficulties. This is because such information could help to inform the development of more effective interventions that will benefit service users and their families.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 2 September, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 4 September, 2020
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Statistical methods