The face validity of an initial sub-typology of people with autism spectrum disorders detained in psychiatric hospitals

Magali Barnoux, Regi Alexander, Sabyasachi Bhaumik, John Devapriam, Connor Duggan, Lee Shepstone, Ekkehart Staufenberg, David Turner, Nichola Tyler, Essi Viding, Peter E Langdon

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LAY ABSTRACT: Autistic adults who have a history of committing crimes pose challenges for the criminal justice system in terms of disposal and treatment. For this reason, we investigated the validity of a proposed sub-typology of autistic adults detained in secure psychiatric hospitals. Initially, we ran a focus group with psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, healthcare workers, family members and autistic adults who had been detained in hospital to consider a sub-typology of autistic adults who may come into contact with secure psychiatric hospitals. We asked 15 psychiatrists and clinical psychologists to rate 10 clinical vignettes based on our sub-typology with three rounds; revisions to the vignettes to improve clarity were made following each round. The findings indicated that these subtypes possess face validity and raters were able to classify all 10 clinical case vignettes into the sub-typology and percentage of agreement ranged from 96% to 100% for overall subtype classification. The findings suggested that the further validity of the sub-typology should be investigated within a larger study using a clinical sample. These subtypes may help inform treatment and care pathways within hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1885-1897
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Early online date20 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • behavioural problems
  • care pathway
  • crime
  • psychopathy
  • secure hospitals
  • typology

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