Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 165–176

Anxiety, Sensory Over-Responsivity, and Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Micah O. Mazurek
  • Roma A. Vasa
  • Luther G. Kalb
  • Stephen M. Kanne
  • Daniel Rosenberg
  • Amy Keefer
  • Donna S. Murray
  • Brian Freedman
  • Lea Ann Lowery
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-012-9668-x

Cite this article as:
Mazurek, M.O., Vasa, R.A., Kalb, L.G. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2013) 41: 165. doi:10.1007/s10802-012-9668-x

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience high rates of anxiety, sensory processing problems, and gastrointestinal (GI) problems; however, the associations among these symptoms in children with ASD have not been previously examined. The current study examined bivariate and multivariate relations among anxiety, sensory over-responsivity, and chronic GI problems in a sample of 2,973 children with ASD enrolled in the Autism Treatment Network (ages 2–17 years, 81.6 % male). Twenty-four percent of the sample experienced at least one type of chronic GI problem (constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and/or nausea lasting three or more months). Children with each type of GI problem had significantly higher rates of both anxiety and sensory over-responsivity. Sensory over-responsivity and anxiety were highly associated, and each provided unique contributions to the prediction of chronic GI problems in logistic regression analyses. The results indicate that anxiety, sensory over-responsivity and GI problems are possibly interrelated phenomenon for children with ASD, and may have common underlying mechanisms.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disordersAnxietySensory over-responsivityGastrointestinal problems

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Micah O. Mazurek
    • 1
  • Roma A. Vasa
    • 2
  • Luther G. Kalb
    • 3
  • Stephen M. Kanne
    • 4
  • Daniel Rosenberg
    • 5
  • Amy Keefer
    • 3
  • Donna S. Murray
    • 6
  • Brian Freedman
    • 7
  • Lea Ann Lowery
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Health Psychology and Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisordersUniversity of Missouri – ColumbiaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Department of PsychiatryJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Center for Autism and Related DisordersKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsPsychology Section, Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  5. 5.The EMMES CorporationRockvilleUSA
  6. 6.The Kelly O’Leary Center of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Division of Developmental & Behavioral PediatricsCincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA
  7. 7.Center for Disabilities StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  8. 8.Department of Occupational Therapy and Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental DisordersUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA