The development of anorexia nervosa in people with an autism spectrum disorder; a qualitative, retrospective study
background To improve treatment options for women with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in combination with anorexia nervosa (an), it is necessary to better understand which risk factors are involved in the development of an in this target audience.
aim To identify risk factors for the development of an in people with ASD.
method Six women with ASD who are, or have been suffering from an, were interviewed about the development of their eating disorder. The data were analyzed using the thematic analysis method.
results Regarding these participants, the generally accepted risk factors for developing an also appear to play a role, where it is possible that people with ASD form a vulnerable group for these risk factors. Characteristics specific for ASD were found to also contribute to the development of an in these participants.
conclusion For women with ASD it is important to be aware of a vulnerability to develop an. Extra support in areas where they experience difficulties is therefore necessary. The ASD specific characteristics can be aggravating or sustaining factors for an and should therefore be included in the treatment.