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Circumscribed Interests and 'Offenders' with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Case-Control Study
Clare, I.C.H., Woodbury-Smith, M., Bambrick, M., WATSON, P. & Staufenberg, E.
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 21(3), 366-377
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The possibility that circumscribed interests, one of the features of the core clinical phenotype of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), may be related to offending and other behaviour bringing individuals into contact with the criminal justice system has not been investigated systematically. We compared the circumscribed interests of a group of 21 intellectually able ‘offenders’ with ASDs with those of 23 men and women with no such history. As expected, the ‘offenders’ were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) more likely to report interests rated as having a ‘violent’ content. Moreover, for some (29%) participants, the ‘index offence’ seemed to be related to his or her interest(s); however, the nature of these relationships varied widely. We need to develop a) an appropriate methodology to collect more detailed information about circumscribed interests, and b) investigate the impact of treatment and support strategies informed by a more nuanced understanding of the relevance of circumscribed interests.