Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 705–716

Sensory Over-Responsivity in Elementary School: Prevalence and Social-Emotional Correlates

  • A. Ben-Sasson
  • A. S. Carter
  • M. J. Briggs-Gowan

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-008-9295-8

Cite this article as:
Ben-Sasson, A., Carter, A.S. & Briggs-Gowan, M.J. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2009) 37: 705. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9295-8


Sensory over-responsivity (SOR) towards tactile and auditory input can impact children’s participation in academic and social activities; however the prevalence of SOR behaviors and their relation to social-emotional problems and competence has not been rigorously studied. This study investigated SOR in a representative sample of elementary school-aged children (n = 925, 50% boys, ages 7–11 years) who were followed from infancy. Sixteen percent of parents reported that at least four tactile or auditory sensations bothered their children. Being bothered by certain sensations was common while others were relatively rare. Parents of children with versus without elevated SOR in school-age reported higher frequencies of early and co-occurring internalizing, externalizing, and dysregulation problems, and lower levels of concurrent adaptive social behaviors. Early identification of elevated SOR and assessment of concurrent social-emotional status are important to minimize their impact on social adaptive behaviors at school age.


Sensory over-responsivitySocialEmotionalInternalizingExternalizingCompetenceElementary school

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Ben-Sasson
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. S. Carter
    • 2
  • M. J. Briggs-Gowan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Occupational TherapyHaifa UniversityHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA