• Examining the relationship between autism traits and sleep duration as predictors of suicidality

      Hochard, Kevin D.; Pendrous, Rosina; Mari, Tyler; Flynn, Samantha; University of Chester; University of Warwick
      Short sleep duration is a known risk factor for suicidality in the general population, yet it is unclear how short sleep interacts with autism traits in predicting suicidality. In this cross-sectional online study, a general population sample (N = 650) completed measures assessing autism traits, suicidal ideation, and sleep duration. Moderated hierarchical regressions demonstrated that higher autism traits and shorter sleep were independent predictors of increased suicide ideation. However, sleep duration did not significantly moderate the autism trait to suicide ideation relationship. Future work should explore this relationship longitudinally using objective measures before intervention work to increase sleep duration in those with elevated autism traits be consider.
    • A Quantitative Sensory Testing Approach to Pain in Autism Spectrum Disorders

      Vaughan, Sarah; McGlone, Francis; Poole, Helen; Moore, David J.; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University (Springer Verlag, 2019-02-15)
      Sensory abnormalities in autism has been noted clinically, with pain insensitivity as a specified diagnostic criterion. However, there is limited research using psychophysically robust techniques. Thirteen adults with ASD and 13 matched controls completed an established Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) battery, supplemented with measures of pain tolerance and central modulation. The ASD group showed higher thresholds for light touch detection and mechanical pain. Notably, the ASD group had a greater range of extreme scores (the number of z-scores outside of the 95% CI >2), dynamic mechanical allodynia and paradoxical heat sensation; phenomena not typically seen in neurotypical individuals. These data support the need for research examining central mechanisms for pain in ASD and greater consideration of individual difference.