Sukhareva--Prior to Asperger and Kanner

Nord J Psychiatry. 2015 Aug;69(6):479-82. doi: 10.3109/08039488.2015.1005022. Epub 2015 Mar 31.


As early as 1926, the Kiev-based child psychiatrist Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva (Груня Ефимовна Сухарева) (1891-1981) published a detailed description of autistic traits in a number of children in a scientific German psychiatry and neurology journal. She initially used the term "schizoid (eccentric) psychopathy" but later replaced it with "autistic (pathological avoidant) psychopathy" to describe the clinical picture of autism. Her original article was available almost two decades before the case reports of Asperger and Kanner; nevertheless, Sukhareva's pioneer work has been greatly overlooked. Here we present her description of autistic psychopathy in relation to the DSM-5 criteria of today.

Keywords: Asperger's disorder; Autistic disorder; Autistic spectrum disorder; History of psychiatry; Schizoid personality disorder.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Asperger Syndrome / history*
  • Austria
  • Autistic Disorder / history*
  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / history*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Ukraine

Personal name as subject

  • Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva
  • Hans Asperger
  • Leo Kanner