Anorexia Nervosa and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Guided Investigation of Social Cognitive Endophenotypes

Nancy L. Zucker*, Molly Losh, Cynthia M. Bulik, Kevin S. LaBar, Joseph Piven, Kevin A. Pelphrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations

Abstract

Death by suicide occurs in a disproportionate percentage of individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), with a standardized mortality ratio indicating a 57-fold greater risk of death from suicide relative to an age-matched cohort. Longitudinal studies indicate impaired social functioning increases risk for fatal outcomes, while social impairment persists following recovery. Study of social cognition in AN may elucidate impaired processes that may influence therapeutic efficacy. Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are overrepresented in those who evidence a chronic course. Relative to that in AN, social information processing in ASD is well characterized and may inform systematic study in AN. This article (a) reviews impaired interpersonal processes in AN, (b) compares the phenotype of AN with that of ASD, (c) highlights deficits of social cognitive disturbance in ASD relative to AN, and (d) proposes a new framework to understand the interaction of individuals with AN with their social context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-1006
Number of pages31
JournalPsychological bulletin
Volume133
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • anorexia nervosa
  • autism
  • eating disorders
  • interpersonal functioning
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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