Formal thought disorder in autism spectrum disorder predicts future symptom severity, but not psychosis prodrome

Mart Eussen, EI de Bruin, AR van Gool, Anneke Louwerse, Jan van der Ende, F (Fop) Verheij, Frank Verhulst, Kirstin Greaves-Lord

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Formal thought disorder (FTD) is a disruption in the flow of thought, which is inferred from disorganisation of spoken language. FTD in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) might be a precursor of psychotic disorders or a manifestation of ASD symptom severity. The current longitudinal study is a seven-year follow-up of 91 individuals aged 5-12 years with ASD. We tested (1) whether childhood FTD predicted prodromal symptoms of psychosis in adolescence and (2) whether childhood FTD was associated with greater ASD symptom severity in adolescence. ASD symptom severity was assessed in childhood (T1) and 7 years later (T2), using the autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS). At T1, the Kiddie-Formal Thought Disorder Rating Scale (KFTDS) was used to measure symptoms of FTD. At T2, the prodromal questionnaire (PQ) was used to assess prodromal symptoms of psychosis. FTD at T1 did not predict prodromal symptoms of psychosis at T2 in children with ASD. FTD symptoms at T1, namely illogical thinking, predicted ASD symptom severity at T2 and this effect remained significant after controlling for T1 ASD symptom severity. In children with ASD, illogical thinking predicts severity of ASD symptoms in adolescence, but FTD does not predict prodromal symptoms of psychosis.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01

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