Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1520–1525 | Cite as

Brief Report: Association Between Behavioral Features and Gastrointestinal Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Matthew J. Maenner
  • Carrie L. Arneson
  • Susan E. Levy
  • Russell S. Kirby
  • Joyce S. Nicholas
  • Maureen S. Durkin
Brief Report


Recent reports suggest certain behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may indicate underlying gastro-intestinal (GI) problems, and that the presence of these behaviors may help alert primary care providers to the need to evaluate a child with ASD for GI problems. The purpose of this population-based study of 487 children with ASD, including 35 (7.2%) with a medically documented history of GI problems, was to compare behavioral features of children with and without a history of GI problems. Unusual sleeping or eating habits and oppositional behavior were significantly associated with GI problems. These behaviors, however, were frequent in both children with and without GI problems, suggesting they may have limited utility in a screening capacity for GI problems.


Autism spectrum disorder Gastrointestinal 



This work was supported by a grant from the Autism Science Foundation and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through Cooperative Agreements UR3/CCU523235 and UR3/DD000078 as part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. We gratefully acknowledge ADDM project coordinators, clinician reviewers, abstractors, ADDM investigators who contributed to the surveillance project and data collection. We also thank Dr. Lisa Miller for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. Maenner
    • 1
  • Carrie L. Arneson
    • 2
  • Susan E. Levy
    • 3
  • Russell S. Kirby
    • 4
  • Joyce S. Nicholas
    • 5
  • Maureen S. Durkin
    • 6
  1. 1.Waisman Center and Department of Population Health SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Children’s Hosptial of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  5. 5.Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  6. 6.Waisman Center and Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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