Article by Kenneth Gadow, PhD, and Colleagues Compares Specific Symptoms of Depression in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occurring Related Disorders

Kenneth Gadow PhD In an article published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Stony Brook University Professor Kenneth D. Gadow, PhD, and colleagues compared symptoms of depression in boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), some of whom had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and three other groups of boys. One group had Tourette syndrome (TS) plus ADHD. A second group of boys had ADHD but not TS. The third group was comprised of typically-developing boys who had none of these conditions (controls). Researchers wanted to determine whether the presence of these conditions increased their risk for specific symptoms of depression. Their findings make a contribution to the on-going effort to understand the origins and best methods for classifying a cluster of emotional and behavioral disorders that includes autism, ADHD, TS and depression.

Dr. Gadow and his colleagues discovered that the severity scores for all seven symptoms of depression obtained from parents and teachers using the Child Symptom Inventory-4 were higher for boys with ASD than for controls, suggesting that boys with ASD are at an increased risk for depression.. Although the most severe depression symptom ratings were found among the boys with co-occurring conditions (either ASD plus ADHD or TS plus ADHD), the severity of many symptoms was similar whether that had co-occurring ADHD or not. Unlike previous studies that used global evaluations of depression, this study identified differences in the individual symptoms of depression among several subgroups of boys with related disorders. The researchers concluded that co-occurring conditions (ASD, ADHD, TS) may influence depression.

The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal focusing on autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities. Dr. Gadow is a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University. The article is titled Depression Symptoms in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Comparison Samples.