Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1080–1085 | Cite as

Behaviour Management Problems as Predictors of Psychotropic Medication and Use of Psychiatric Services in Adults with Autism

  • Elias TsakanikosEmail author
  • Helen Costello
  • Geraldine Holt
  • Peter Sturmey
  • Nick Bouras
Original Paper


We examined behaviour management problems as predictors of psychotropic medication, use of psychiatric consultation and in-patient admission in a group of 66 adults with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) and intellectual disability (ID) and 99 controls matched in age, gender and level of ID. Overall, people with PDD had higher rates of most DAS behaviour problems and more frequent use of anti-psychotics than matched controls. Logistic regression analyses showed that physical aggression and problems such as pestering staff independently predicted use of anti-psychotics. Physical aggression and overactivity predicted further involvement of psychiatric services. PDD diagnosis predicted admission to an in-patient unit. The results suggest that externalizing problem behaviours in adults with autism can predict type of treatment intervention.


Autism Behaviour management problems Challenging behaviour Intellectual disability/ mental retardation Psychotropic medication Treatment interventions 



Special thanks are due to the service users and their cares for taking part in the study. Thanks are also due to three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias Tsakanikos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helen Costello
    • 1
  • Geraldine Holt
    • 1
  • Peter Sturmey
    • 2
  • Nick Bouras
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College London, Estia CenterLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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