Brief report: Social disability in autism spectrum disorder: Results from research units on pediatric psychopharmacology (RUPP) autism network trials

Lawrence Scahill, Victoria Hallett, Michael G. Aman, Christopher J. McDougle, L. Eugene Arnold, James T. McCracken, Elaine Tierney, Yanhong Deng, James Dziura, Benedetto Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is growing interest in measuring social disability as a core element of autism spectrum disorders in medication trials. We conducted a secondary analysis on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist Social Withdrawal subscale using data from two federally-funded, multi-site, randomized trials with risperidone. Study 1 included 52 subjects assigned to placebo and 49 subjects to risperidone under double-blind conditions. Study 2 included 49 subjects assigned to risperidone only and 75 subjects assigned to risperidone plus parent training. After 8 weeks of treatment, all active treatments were superior to placebo (effect sizes ranging from 0.42 to 0.65). The findings suggest that the Social Withdrawal subscale may be a useful measure of social disability in acute treatment trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-746
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013



  • Aberrant Behavior Checklist
  • Autism
  • Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPP) Autism Network
  • Risperidone
  • Social disability
  • Social withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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