Aggression in Children and Adolescents with ASD: Prevalence and Risk Factors

Department of Health Psychology and Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri, 205 Portland Street, Suite 110, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 10/2010; 41(7):926-37. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-010-1118-4
Source: PubMed


The prevalence of and risk factors for aggression were examined in 1,380 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Prevalence was high, with parents reporting that 68% had demonstrated aggression to a caregiver and 49% to non-caregivers. Overall, aggression was not associated with clinician observed severity of ASD symptoms, intellectual functioning, gender, marital status, parental educational level, or aspects of communication. Individuals who are younger, come from a higher income family, have more parent reported social/communication problems, or engage in repetitive behaviors were more likely to demonstrate aggression. Given the significant impact of aggression on individual and family outcomes, it is hoped that this knowledge will inform more targeted intervention efforts.

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    • "Although not inherent to the condition, anger is a clinically significant issue for many individuals with ASD and their families, with research indicating it is particularly problematic for adolescent males with ASD (Hodgetts, Nicholas, & Zwaigenbaum, 2013; Kanne & Mazurek, 2011; Mazurek, Kanne, & Wodka, 2013). For example, two large-scale studies investigating the experiences of anger in children and adolescents with ASD have found that over half display significant physical aggression (Kanne & Mazurek, 2011; Mazurek et al., 2013). Although the predictors of anger in individuals with ASD are not well understood, it has been suggested that it may stem from the frustration of feeling different and isolated from their peers (Barnhill & Myles, 2001; Levesque, 2011; Nasir & Tahir, 2012), their difficulties with communication (Simpson & Myles, 1998), and from coping with a range of often co-occurring challenges such as sleep problems and sensory abnormalities (Mazurek et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This study applies personal construct psychology for understanding the experiences of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Method Semistructured interviews were conducted with 26 participants from 8 families, including adolescent males with ASD, mothers, fathers, and adolescent neurotypically developing siblings. Analysis of interview data was structured according to the themes presented in a previous theoretical application of personal construct theory (PCT) for understanding adolescents with ASD.Results Themes included complexity of the adolescent social realm, sense-making in multifaceted situations, identity development, development of flexible processing styles, and understanding and managing physical and emotional changes associated with puberty.Conclusion The study provides empirical support for the application of PCT for understanding adolescents with ASD. The insights provided by the participants may be helpful for adolescents with ASD, family members, and clinicians. © 2015
    Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability 08/2015; 40(4):1-14. DOI:10.3109/13668250.2015.1070814 · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    • "Aggression and irritability are major symptom dimensions in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with some estimates of prevalence as high as 68 % (Kanne and Mazurek 2011) and greater prevalence in individuals with low-cognitive ability (Hartley et al. 2008). It is argued that the optimal management of these symptoms includes both behavioral and pharmacological interventions (McDougle et al. 2003), with the latter often constituting the only treatment option in settings where there is limited knowledge and capacity for implementing behavioral strategies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aggression remains a major cause of morbidity in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Current pharmacotherapy for aggression is not always effective and is often associated with morbidity. Nicotinic acetylcholinergic neurotransmission may play a prominent role in ASD pathophysiology based on human and animal studies, and preclinical studies show nicotine administration can reduce aggression-related behaviors. Transdermal nicotine has been used to treat agitation in neuropsychiatric conditions with cholinergic dysfunction. Here we report the use of transdermal nicotine as an adjunctive medication to treat aggression in a hospitalized adolescent with ASD. Nicotine patch was recurrently well tolerated, and reduced the need for emergency medication and restraint. These findings suggest further study of transdermal nicotine for aggression comorbid with ASD is warranted.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 05/2015; 45(9). DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2471-0 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "Sometimes, children behave cobative due to fear of inability to deal with emotions, especially frustration and are incapable to verbalize the situation efficiently. Other factors including environmental influences, unrelieved stress, lack of appropriate problem solving skills and coping strategies can also result in aggressive behaviors (Kanne & Mazurek, 2011). "
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