Diagnostic tool: poster presentation


Features of Pathological Demand Avoidance Identified Using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (‘DISCO’)

This is a concise, diagrammatic summary of the original research paper. The aims of the original study were two-fold: to identify items of the DISCO that measure features of PDA most likely to discriminate PDA from the rest of the autism spectrum, and to examine the behavioural profile of a subset of individuals with a PDA profile.

Information collated from a previous parent-report study was used to identify the items of the DISCO that highly endorsed PDA. The sample group consisted of individuals who had been assessed by the DISCO. Eleven items were identified which included features such as ‘lack of co-operation’, ‘apparently manipulative behaviour’, ‘difficulties with other people’ and ‘repetitive acting out roles’. The PDA subset of the group had a very high endorsement of most of the items identified.

It was found there was overlap for some key ASD features between PDA and the rest of the sample. Similar profiles of impairment relating to social interaction, communication, imagination and rigid, repetitive behaviours were found in both the PDA group and the rest of the sample.

The behaviours commonly endorsed by the PDA group highlight the extreme behavioural challenges individuals with this profile present.


Authors:  Elizabeth O’Nions, Judith Gould, Phil Christie, Christopher Gillberg, Essi Viding and Francesca Happé

Published:  7th May 2015