One-year course and predictors of abdominal pain in children with autism spectrum disorders: The role of anxiety and sensory over-responsivity

Micah O. Mazurek, Amy Keefer, Amy Shui, Roma A. Vasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives To examine the one-year course of parent-reported abdominal pain in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and to determine whether anxiety and sensory over-responsivity (SOR) contribute to the onset or remission of abdominal pain. Methods Participants included 225 children (ages 2-17) with ASD enrolled in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. Primary measures included the parent-reported GI Symptom Inventory Questionnaire, Child Behavior Checklist, and Short Sensory Profile. Results One-fourth (25.8%) experienced chronic abdominal pain (duration 3 months) at baseline, persisting at one-year follow-up for 86.7%. New onset pain occurred for 23.8% of those without baseline pain. Anxiety, SOR, and chronic abdominal pain were associated at baseline. SOR significantly predicted new onset pain, but neither anxiety nor SOR were predictors of pain remission. Conclusions Abdominal pain appears to be common and persistent among children with ASD. The relations among SOR, anxiety and abdominal pain offer information about potential underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1508-1515
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2014

Keywords

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sensory problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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