Delineating childhood autism spectrum symptoms from a maladaptive trait perspective

Barbara De Clercq*, Nathalie Aelterman, Sarah De Pauw, Marleen De Bolle, Mieke Decuyper, Jennifer L. Tackett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Children with autism spectrum disorders comprise a highly heterogeneous group within the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association 1994) Pervasive Developmental Disorder section. Inadequate inclusion criteria and indefinite boundaries between different manifestations tend to hamper unambiguous diagnosis within the current DSM-IV taxonomy, resulting in a large group of children diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (Myhr, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 43:589-595, 1998) or diagnoses that do not comprehensively cover the symptomatology of the individual child. Suggestions for DSM-V include a reconceptualization of the autism spectrum in terms of two distinct symptom dimensions characterized by communication deficits and repetitive behaviours respectively (Swedo 2009) that may provide a more comprehensive description of autism manifestations. The current study corroborates this suggestion and introduces a new perspective on the autism spectrum at a young age, exploring the contribution of specific developmental personality pathology facets in characterizing these underlying dimensions of autism symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Child
  • Personality pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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