Using parent- and self-reports to evaluate eating disturbances in young girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Vicki Bitsika, Christopher F. Sharpley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Background Eating Disturbances (ED) often occur in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but most previous studies have relied on parent-reported data about males with ASD. Few studies have collected data from younger girls with ASD using self-reports and parents’ reports. Aims To compare self-reports and parents’ reports of ED in a sample of 52 young girls with ASD, a standardised scale for ED was revised for use with younger girls with ASD. Methods Mothers of 52 girls with ASD aged from 6 to 17 years completed the Swedish Eating Assessment for Autism spectrum disorders (SWEAA) on their daughters; the girls also completed the SWEAA as a self-report. Results The prevalence of severe ED in the sample was low (about 11%). There were minimal significant differences between mothers’ and daughters’ SWEAA responses across most SWEAA subscales. Deletion of several of the original SWEAA items produced a scale that can be used as a self-report or a carer-report with young girls with ASD. Conclusion The clinical assessment of ED via self- or parent reports is suggested as a pathway to identify girls with ASD who also exhibit ED so that adequate treatment planning can be developed for them.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-98
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


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