Repetitive behaviors and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder

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dc.contributor Barber, Angela B.
dc.contributor Hamilton, James C.
dc.contributor Lochman, John E.
dc.contributor Roskos-Ewoldsen, Beverly
dc.contributor.advisor Klinger, Laura G. DeRamus, Michelle 2017-02-28T22:21:51Z 2017-02-28T22:21:51Z 2009
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0000134
dc.identifier.other DeRamus_alatus_0004D_10229
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract There has been limited research on repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with little information about how repetitive behaviors in ASD differ from repetitive behaviors in other disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Further, there has been little research examining how repetitive behaviors are related to the social impairments characterizing ASD. This study examined the relation between repetitive behaviors, anxiety, and social problems in ASD, as well as symptoms that differentiate ASD and OCD. Parents of 49 children with ASD and 12 children with OCD completed interviews and surveys regarding their children's repetitive behaviors (Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale; Repetitive Behaviors Scale - Revised), anxiety (Spence Children's Anxiety Scale for Parents), and social impairment (Social Responsiveness Scale). Within the ASD group, approximately half of participants were reported to have clinically significant levels of anxiety. Mediation analyses provided some support for Baron-Cohen's (1989) model suggesting that social difficulties lead to anxiety, producing repetitive behaviors in individuals with ASD. However, there was more support for an alternate mediation model suggesting that anxiety leads to repetitive behaviors, creating social problems. Both models support theories suggesting that anxiety leads to repetitive behaviors in children with ASD. The current study provides converging evidence that anxiety is a significant clinical issue for many children with ASD and is related to core social symptoms. Multivariate analysis of variance and qualitative descriptions were used to compare children with ASD and children with OCD. Results indicated that the severity and frequency of most types of repetitive behaviors are comparable in children with ASD and children with OCD. However, differences were evident between groups on the number of obsessions (more in OCD) and on stereotyped and restricted behavior (greater frequency and severity in ASD). The distinction between groups on these symptoms suggests that they may be useful in differentiating ASD from other disorders. A significant number (74%) of children with ASD met criteria for OCD, suggesting that it may be appropriate to use both diagnoses in the same individual. This research has implications for our conceptualization of repetitive behaviors in ASD and our assessment and treatment of children with this disorder.
dc.format.extent 122 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Psychology, Clinical
dc.title Repetitive behaviors and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Psychology Psychology The University of Alabama doctoral Ph.D.

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