Aggressive behavior problems in children with autism spectrum disorders: Prevalence and correlates in a large clinical sample

Alison Presmanes Hill, Katharine Zuckerman, Arlene D. Hagen, Daniel Kriz, Susanne Duvall, Jan Van Santen, Joel Nigg, Damien Fair, Eric Fombonne

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57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aggressive behavior problems (ABP) are frequent yet poorly understood in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and are likely to co-vary significantly with comorbid problems. We examined the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of ABP in a clinical sample of children with ASD (N = 400; 2-16.9 years). We also investigated whether children with ABP experience more intensive medical interventions, greater impairments in behavioral functioning, and more severe comorbid problems than children with ASD who do not have ABP. One in four children with ASD had Child Behavior Checklist scores on the Aggressive Behavior scale in the clinical range (T-scores ≥ 70). Sociodemographic factors (age, gender, parent education, race, ethnicity) were unrelated to ABP status. The presence of ABP was significantly associated with increased use of psychotropic drugs and melatonin, lower cognitive functioning, lower ASD severity, and greater comorbid sleep, internalizing, and attention problems. In multivariate models, sleep, internalizing, and attention problems were most strongly associated with ABP. These comorbid problems may hold promise as targets for treatment to decrease aggressive behavior and proactively identify high-risk profiles for prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1133
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Sleep
Age Factors
Psychotropic Drugs
Child Behavior
Melatonin
Problem Behavior
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Checklist
Education
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Attention problems
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Internalizing problems
  • Psychotropic drugs
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Aggressive behavior problems (ABP) are frequent yet poorly understood in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and are likely to co-vary significantly with comorbid problems. We examined the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of ABP in a clinical sample of children with ASD (N = 400; 2-16.9 years). We also investigated whether children with ABP experience more intensive medical interventions, greater impairments in behavioral functioning, and more severe comorbid problems than children with ASD who do not have ABP. One in four children with ASD had Child Behavior Checklist scores on the Aggressive Behavior scale in the clinical range (T-scores ≥ 70). Sociodemographic factors (age, gender, parent education, race, ethnicity) were unrelated to ABP status. The presence of ABP was significantly associated with increased use of psychotropic drugs and melatonin, lower cognitive functioning, lower ASD severity, and greater comorbid sleep, internalizing, and attention problems. In multivariate models, sleep, internalizing, and attention problems were most strongly associated with ABP. These comorbid problems may hold promise as targets for treatment to decrease aggressive behavior and proactively identify high-risk profiles for prevention.",
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AU - Van Santen, Jan

AU - Nigg, Joel

AU - Fair, Damien

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AB - Aggressive behavior problems (ABP) are frequent yet poorly understood in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and are likely to co-vary significantly with comorbid problems. We examined the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of ABP in a clinical sample of children with ASD (N = 400; 2-16.9 years). We also investigated whether children with ABP experience more intensive medical interventions, greater impairments in behavioral functioning, and more severe comorbid problems than children with ASD who do not have ABP. One in four children with ASD had Child Behavior Checklist scores on the Aggressive Behavior scale in the clinical range (T-scores ≥ 70). Sociodemographic factors (age, gender, parent education, race, ethnicity) were unrelated to ABP status. The presence of ABP was significantly associated with increased use of psychotropic drugs and melatonin, lower cognitive functioning, lower ASD severity, and greater comorbid sleep, internalizing, and attention problems. In multivariate models, sleep, internalizing, and attention problems were most strongly associated with ABP. These comorbid problems may hold promise as targets for treatment to decrease aggressive behavior and proactively identify high-risk profiles for prevention.

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