Children with autistic spectrum disorder and a family history of affective disorder

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1994 Aug;36(8):674-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1994.tb11910.x.


This paper compiles the clinical behavioral phenomenology of individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) with a family history of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) or major depression and no identified neurological disorder, based on repeated clinical interviews during extended follow-up (ranging from six months to 21 (mean 3.9) years. Their pattern of affective and cognitive symptoms showed notable similarities across the entire group, despite wide variations in severity; was congruent with standard definitions of ASD; showed many features of childhood BPAD, including affective extremes, cyclicity, obsessive traits, special abilities, and regression after initial normal development; and differed from that of autistic children with neurological etiologies. These observations support the concept that ASD in some cases may be etiologically related to BPAD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mood Disorders / genetics*