Risk Factors Associated with Self-Injurious Behaviors in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • While self-injurious behaviors (SIB) can cause significant morbidity for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), little is known about its associated risk factors. We assessed 7 factors that may influence self-injury in a large cohort of children with ASD: (a) atypical sensory processing; (b) impaired cognitive ability; (c) abnormal functional communication; (d) abnormal social functioning; (e) age; (f) the need for sameness; (g) rituals and compulsions. Half (52.3%, n = 126) of the children (n = 241, aged 2-19 years) demonstrated SIB. Abnormal sensory processing was the strongest single predictor of self-injury followed by sameness, impaired cognitive ability and social functioning. Since atypical sensory processing and sameness have a greater relative impact on SIB, treatment approaches that focus on these factors may be beneficial in reducing self-harm in children with ASD.

authors

  • Duerden, Emma G
  • Oatley, Hannah K
  • Mak-Fan, Kathleen M
  • McGrath, Patricia A
  • Taylor, Margot J
  • Szatmari, Peter
  • Roberts, S Wendy

publication date

  • November 2012