The association between autism and schizophrenia spectrum disorders: A review of eight alternate models of co-occurrence

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Although now believed to be two distinct disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) share multiple phenotypic similarities and risk factors, and have been reported to co-occur at elevated rates. In this narrative review, we give a brief overview of the phenomenological, genetic, environmental, and imaging evidence for the overlap between ASD and SSD, highlighting similarities and areas of distinction. We examine eight possible alternate models of explanation for the association and comorbidity between the disorders, and set out a research agenda to test these models. Understanding how and why these disorders co-occur has important implications for diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, as well as for developing fundamental aetiological models of the disorders.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-83
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Early online date5 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015