Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The associations between autistic traits and disordered eating/drive for muscularity are independent of anxiety and depression in females but not males

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Elizabeth EvansORCiD, Dr Gareth RichardsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Previous research has shown a positive correlation between autistic traits and eating disor- der symptoms, and this relationship appears to be independent of co-occurring mental health status. The current study followed a pre-registered analysis plan with the aim to investigate a previously unconsidered factor in the relationship between autistic traits and disorders of eating and body image: the drive for muscularity. Participants (N = 1068) com- pleted the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) and Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS). Positive correla- tions between AQ and EAT-26 and AQ and DMS were observed. In females, AQ remained significantly correlated with EAT-26 and DMS when controlling for co-occurring anxiety and depression symptoms, but this was not the case in males. These findings demonstrate the moderating role of sex, and the need to consider autistic traits in individuals diagnosed with, or at a heightened risk for, disorders of eating and body image.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Galvin J, Evans EH, Talbot CV, Wilson C, Richards G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2022

Volume: 17

Issue: 10

Pages: e0276249

Online publication date: 17/10/2022

Acceptance date: 03/10/2022

Date deposited: 17/10/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276249


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
The funds were spent from allocated funding for staff projects (Elizabeth H. Evans research account)
School of Psychology, Newcastle University for participant recruitment on Prolific