Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 701–713

Predictors of Self-Injurious Behavior and Self-Restraint in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Towards a Hypothesis of Impaired Behavioral Control

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-3000-5

Cite this article as:
Richards, C., Davies, L. & Oliver, C. J Autism Dev Disord (2017) 47: 701. doi:10.1007/s10803-016-3000-5


Self-injury is common in autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however few studies have investigated correlates of self-injury or the putative associations with self-restraint. Questionnaire data on self-injury, self-restraint, health conditions, overactivity/impulsivity and repetitive/restricted behavior were collected on 208 children and 216 adults with ASD (mean age = 24.10, range 6–61). Self-injury and self-restraint were frequent and significantly associated in both children (45.7% and 40.9%, p < 0.001) and adults (49.1, and 42.6%, p < 0.001). Severe self-injury was predicted by lower ability, health conditions and overactivity/impulsivity in children (p < 0.001) and repetitive/restricted behavior and overactivity/impulsivity in adults (p < 0.001). These data provide preliminary support for a developmental model of self-injury and self-restraint in which painful health conditions and compromised behavioral control influence the presence and trajectory of self-injury in ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Self-injury Self-restraint Prevalence Impulsivity Pain 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Research Autism

      Copyright information

      © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

      Authors and Affiliations

      • Caroline Richards
        • 1
      • Louise Davies
        • 1
        • 2
      • Chris Oliver
        • 1
      1. 1.Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, School of PsychologyUniversity of BirminghamEdgbastonUK
      2. 2.Forward Thinking Birmingham Learning Disability TeamOaklands CentreSelly OakUK

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