Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1766–1772 | Cite as

Emotion Dysregulation and the Core Features of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Andrea C. Samson
  • Jennifer M. Phillips
  • Karen J. Parker
  • Shweta Shah
  • James J. Gross
  • Antonio Y. Hardan
Brief Report


The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between emotion dysregulation and the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which include social/communication deficits, restricted/repetitive behaviors, and sensory abnormalities. An 18-item Emotion Dysregulation Index was developed on the basis of expert ratings of the Child Behavior Checklist. Compared to typically developing controls, children and adolescents with ASD showed more emotion dysregulation and had significantly greater symptom severity on all scales. Within ASD participants, emotion dysregulation was related to all core features of the disorder, but the strongest association was with repetitive behaviors. These findings may facilitate the development of more effective therapeutic strategies targeting emotion dysregulation in order to optimize long-term outcomes for individuals with ASD.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Core features Emotion regulation Restricted/repetitive behaviors Social/communication deficits Sensory abnormalities 



The study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation PA00P1_136380 (A.S.), the Simons Foundation (K.P.), Escher Fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (A.H) and Mosbacher Family Fund for Autism Research. We thank Robin Libove, Christina Mich Ardel, and Sean Berquist for their help with this study.

Conflict of interest

None. The work with human subjects complies with the guiding policies and principles for experimental procedures endorsed by the NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea C. Samson
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Phillips
    • 2
  • Karen J. Parker
    • 2
  • Shweta Shah
    • 1
  • James J. Gross
    • 1
  • Antonio Y. Hardan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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