An exploration of the relationship between autism and OCD in the context of sensory processing

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Title: An exploration of the relationship between autism and OCD in the context of sensory processing
Authors: O'Riordan, Caoilfhionn
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Date: 2022
Online since: 2022-11-07T15:57:09Z
Abstract: Background: Distinct sensory processing patterns have been shown to occur for both Autistic children and adolescents and individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). There are also elevated rates of OCD in autism. It has therefore been suggested that sensory processing may be an important focal point for understanding the relationship between autism and OCD. Aim: The overarching aim of this research programme is to explore the relationship between autism, OCD and sensory processing patterns, and the interplay between them. Two studies were designed with this research aim in mind. Study one: Study one is a systematic review which aimed to explore relationships between psychological features in autism and sensory processing patterns in children and adolescents. Nine studies were evaluated for methodological rigor and reporting quality, and results were systematically analysed using narrative synthesis. Sensory processing patterns were found to correlate with a range of psychological constructs. Further research which includes direct experiences of Autistic children and adults is needed to extend these findings. Study two: Study two examines the relationship between features of autism, OCD and sensory processing in children and adolescents (n = 65), measured using diagnostic interviews and parent-reported questionnaires. Correlational analyses and follow up regression analysis were performed. Findings indicate that OCD and autism have significant relationships with sensory processing patterns, but not with each other. Social and communication-related features of autism in particular appear to be related to sensory processing. OCD traits were found to be associated with hypersensitivity to sensory input, which has been suggested by both previous research and anecdotal clinical evidence. Conclusions: Findings from this research support the significance of distinct sensory processing patterns as having a significant association with both autism and OCD, which has important clinical and theoretical implications. Although OCD and autism are known to commonly occur with each other, a significant relationship between them was not established by this research programme. Future research should explore the lived experience and perspective of Autistic individuals.
Type of material: Doctoral Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Psychology
Qualification Name: D.Psych. Sc.
Copyright (published version): 2022 the Author
Keywords: AutismOCDSensory processing
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
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Appears in Collections:Psychology Theses

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