DEBRIEF

Research topic: Studying eating behaviour and self-harming behaviour in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD)

Thank you for taking part in our research! Now that we’ve finished, let us explain the rationale behind this work.

We are interested in understanding different eating behaviour patterns and self-injurious behaviours in individuals with an ASD.

Previous research has shown a higher prevalence of eating behaviour problems observed in participants who met the criteria for ASD according to the DSM- 5 (Romero et al., 2016). Other research also shows that a significant percentage of young adults with autism engage in self-harming behaviours (Maddox et al., 2016). However there is a lack of research into studying these two types of behaviours together in individuals with autism despite how common it is amongst this population. In this research we are looking at the prevalence of eating disorders and self-injurious behaviours in individuals with an ASD and the some of the reasons behind engaging in these behaviours. Therefore, participants were required to complete a series of questionnaires measuring the severity of the ASD, the prevalence and information about eating behaviour and self-injurious behaviours. It is expected that a significant number of participants may have difficulties with eating and may engage in self-injurious behaviours at different scales. We expect this number to be higher in females with an ASD.

We would like to reiterate that we understand this may have been an extremely distressing study to participate in.If you feel affected by the issues raised in this research and would like to discuss any concerns, then please contact the study supervisor (P.Reed@Swansea.ac.uk). If you are feeling upset, stressed or feel the research has affected your mental health please contact your GP or you can also contact Swansea University’s Wellbeing services, Horton Building, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, Tel: 01792 295592, www.swansea.ac.uk/wellbeing/. Further discussion about these research areas can be found at www.autism.org.uk/, http://www.samaritans.org/ and http://www.mind.org.uk/. We really appreciate your participation and hope this research can lead to a greater awareness of these issues.

If you have any other questions about the research, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

Rafia Haque, Department of Psychology, Swansea University, 827644@swansea.ac.uk

Professor Phil Reed, Department of Psychology, Swansea University, P.Reed@Swansea.ac.uk

Thank you for your participation.