A Comparison of Autistic Like Traits in the Relatives of Patients with Autism and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder

  • Zeynab Khanjani Mail Department of Education and Psychology, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran.
  • Shahin Azmoodeh Department of Psychology, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran
  • Majid Mahmoudaliloo Department of Education and Psychology, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran.
  • Gholamreza Noorazar Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Autistic Like Traits, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Relatives of Individuals with Autism, Relatives of Patients with Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder


Objective: This study aimed to identify autistic like traits in relatives of patients with schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.

Method: causal-comparative research design was utilized. Fifty individuals among the first degree relatives of patients with autism spectrum disorder and 50 individuals among the first degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder were selected. Autistic-like traits were evaluated by Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Multivariate analysis of variance was used to compare the autistic like traits in two groups.

Results: First degree relatives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder got higher scores in deficiency of social skill, deficiency of communication, deficiency of attention, and attention to details. As well as they got lower scores in deficiency of imagination, in comparison to relatives of individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

Conclusion: Relatives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder compared to relatives of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder showed higher rates of autistic like traits. Only the exception was imagination subscale


Bleuler E. Dementia Praecox oder Gruppe der Schizophrenien. In: Van Aschaffenburg G, Ed. Handbuch der Psychiatrie. Duticke, Leipzig; 1911.

Kanner L. Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child 1943; 2: 217-250.

Asperger H. Die “Autistischen Psychopathen” im Kindesalter. Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten 1944; 117, 76-136.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 Eds DSM-5; 2013.

Baron- cohen S. Mind blindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Oxford: MIT Press; 1995.

Frith U. Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1991.

Wing L. The Continuum of Autistic Characteristics. Diagnosis and Assessment in Autism Current Issues in Autism 1988; 91-110.

Jarrold C, Routh D A. Is there really a link between engineering and autism? Autism 1998; 2, 281-289.

Baron-Cohen S, Bolton P, Wheelwright S, Scahill V, Short L, Mead G, Smith A. Autism occurs more often in families of physicists, engineers, and mathematicians. Autism 1998; 2, 296-301.

Baron- cohen S. The extreme male brain theory of autism. Trends Cogn Sci 2002; 6: 248-254.

Ronald A, Happe F, Butcher LM, Price TS, Wheelwright S, Baron-Cohen S, et al. Genetic heterogeneity between the three components of the autism spectrum: a twin study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2006; 45: 691-699.

Constantino JN, Todd RD. Intergenerational Transmission of Sub-Threshold Autistic Traits in the General Population. Biol Psychiatry 2005; 57: 655-560.

Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Mortensen PB. Effects of familial risk factors and place of birth on the risk of autism: a nationwide register-based study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2005; 46: 963-971.

Constantino JN, Lajonchere C, Lutz M, Gray T, Abbacchi A, McKenna K, et al. Autistic Social Impairment in the Siblings of Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Am J Psychiatry 2006; 163: 294-296.

Russell-Smith SN, Maybery MT, Bayliss DM. Relationships between autistic-like and schizotypy traits: An analysis using the Autism Spectrum Quotient and Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences. Personality and Individual Differences 2011; 51: 128–132.

Rawlings D, Locarnini A. Dimensional schizotypy, autism, and unusual word associations in artists and scientists. Journal of Research in Personality 2008; 42: 465–471.

Spek AA, Wouters SGM. Autism and schizophrenia in high functioning adults: Behavioral differences and overlap. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 2010; 4: 709–717.

Hurst RM1, Nelson-Gray RO, Mitchell JT, Kwapil TR. The relationship of Asperger’s Characteristics and Schizotypal Personality Traits in a Non-Clinical Adult Sample. J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37: 1711-1720.

Bevan Jones R, Thapar A, Lewis G, Zammit S. The association between early autistic traits and psychotic experiences in adolescence. Schizophr Res 2012; 135: 164-169.

Carroll LS, Owen MJ. Genetic overlap between autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Genome Med 2009; 1: 102.

Crespi B, Stead P, Elliot M. Comparative genomics of autism and schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010; 107: 1736–1741.

Baron- cohen S. Wheelwright S, Skinner R, Martin J, Clubley E. The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ): evidence from Asperger Syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. J Autism Dev Disord 2001; 31: 5-17.

Hoekstra RA, Bartels M, Cath DC, Boomsma DI. Factor structure, reliability and criterion validity of Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): A study in Dutch population and patient groups. J Autism Dev Disord 2008; 38: 1555-1566.

Gilliam. J. Gilliam Autism Rating Scale - Second Edition (GARS-2); 1995.

Murphy M, Bolton PF, Pickles A, Fombonne E, Piven J, Rutter M. Personality traits of the relatives of autistic probands. Psychol Med. 2000; 30: 1411-1424.

Constantino JN, Todd RD. Autistic traits in the general population: a twin study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60: 524-530.

Austin EJ. Personality correlates of the broader autism phenotype as assessed by the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Personality and Individual Differences 2005; 38: 451–460.

Piven J, Palmer P, Jacobi D, Childress D, Arndt S. Broader Autism Phenotype: Evidence from a Family History Study of Multiple-Incidence Autism Families. Am J Psychiatry 1997; 154: 185-190.

Lee TM, Chan MW, Chan CC, Gao J, Wang K, Chen EY. Prose memory deficits associated with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2006; 81: 199-209.

Mammarella N, Altamura M, Padalino FA, Petito A, Fairfield B, Bellomo A. False memories in schizophrenia? An imagination inflation study. Psychiatry Res 2010; 179: 267-273.

How to Cite
Khanjani Z, Azmoodeh S, Mahmoudaliloo M, Noorazar G. A Comparison of Autistic Like Traits in the Relatives of Patients with Autism and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder. Iran J Psychiatry. 13(2):148-153.
Original Article(s)