University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Autistic and Schizotypal Traits and Global Functioning in Bipolar Disorder

Abu-Akel, A., Clarke, J., Perry, Amy ORCID:, Wood, S.J., Forty, L., Craddock, N., Jones, I., Gordon-Smith, Katherine ORCID: and Jones, Lisa ORCID: (2016) Autistic and Schizotypal Traits and Global Functioning in Bipolar Disorder. In: 18th Annual Conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders & 8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Affective Disorders, 13th - 16th July 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Unpublished)

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Background and Aims

To determine the expression of autistic and positive schizotypal traits in a large sample of adults with bipolar disorder (BD), and the effect of co-occurring autistic and positive schizotypal traits on global functioning in BD.


Autistic and positive schizotypal traits were assessed in 797 individuals with BD recruited by the Bipolar Disorder Research Network (BDRN), using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient and Kings Schizotypy Questionnaire (KSQ), respectively. Differences in global functioning (rated using the Global Assessment Scale) during lifetime worst depressive and manic episodes (GASD and GASM respectively) were calculated in groups with high/low autistic and positive schizotypal traits. Regression analyses assessed the interactive effect of autistic and positive schizotypal traits on global functioning.


47.2% (CI = 43.7–50.7%) showed clinically significant levels of autistic traits. Mean of sample on the KSQ-Positive scale was 11.98 (95% CI: 11.33–12.62). In the worst episode of mania, the high autistic, high positive schizotypal group had better global functioning than the low autistic, low positive schizotypal group (mean difference = 3.72, p = 0.004). High levels of co-occurring traits were associated with better global functioning in both mood states in individuals with a history of psychosis (GASM: p < 0.001; GASD: p = 0.055).


Expression of autistic and schizotypal traits in adults with BD is prevalent, and may be important to predict course of illness, prognosis, and in devising individualised therapies. Future work should focus on replicating these findings in independent samples, and on the biological and/or psychosocial mechanisms underlying better global functioning in those who have high levels of both autistic and positive schizotypal traits.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Additional Information:

The full-text cannot be supplied for this item. The published abstract is available in the journal 'Bipolar Disorder', Volume 18, Issue SI, RC-01, p.61.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: bipolar disorder, global functioning, autistic traits, schizotypal traits
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Depositing User: Katherine Gordon-Smith
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 14:37
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:13

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