Autism and schizophrenia in high functioning adults: Behavioral differences and overlap

Annelies A Spek*, Saskia G.M. Wouters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Several recent studies have demonstrated a genetical overlap between autism and schizophrenia. However, at a behavioral level it remains unclear which features can validly distinguish adults with autism from an adult schizophrenia group. To this end, the present study compared 21 individuals with the autistic disorder and 21 individuals with schizophrenia in self-reported features of autism and schizophrenia, as measured by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire(SPQ). The schizophrenia group was more likely to report positive symptoms and the adults with autism were more likely to report impairments in social skill. Overlap was found between the two groups in negative symptoms, disorganization, attention to detail and imagination. Thus, when discriminating between the two disorders, especially social skill and the presence of positive symptoms are relevant, whereas the presence of negative symptoms is not indicative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-717
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Autism
  • Schizophrenia
  • SPQ
  • AQ
  • Negative symptoms
  • Social skill

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