A Mixed Method Exploration of the Association between Autism and Central Sensitivity Syndromes

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Psychology


It is widely held in the autistic community, and amongst professionals in the field, that 'Central Sensitivity Syndromes' (CSS) such as Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) seem to be more prevalent in people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). To date, this link has not been formally investigated.

This PhD project has several research goals; firstly, to establish whether there is an association between these illnesses and ASD; secondly, to explore whether any association is mediated by gender effects; thirdly, to look at common diagnostic experiences of people with CSS, and investigate how autism might affect the diagnostic journey; and finally, to explore how autistic traits might affect illness beliefs and management for those people with symptoms of both conditions.

The project takes a mixed method approach, with a quantitative study using structural equation modelling to explore the links between conditions, and a qualitative study of participants with symptoms of both ASD and CSS. Collaborators include Professor Simon Baron-Cohen (Cambridge Autism Research Centre) and Dr. Sander Begeer (Netherlands Autism Register).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2104238 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2018 29/06/2024 Sarah Grant