Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1223–1230 | Cite as

Implications of Social Groups on Sedentary Behavior of Children with Autism: A Pilot Study

  • Michaela A. SchenkelbergEmail author
  • Richard R. Rosenkranz
  • George A. Milliken
  • Kristi Menear
  • David A. Dzewaltowski
Original Paper


This pilot study compared sedentary behavior (SB) of children with autism (ASD) to typically developing peers (TD), and evaluated the influence of social contexts within free play (FP) and organized activity settings on SB of children with ASD during an inclusive summer camp. Participants with ASD were matched with TD peers by age and gender, and a modified OSRAC-P was utilized to assess SB and social context by setting. SB did not differ by diagnosis (ASD, TD), setting, or social contexts. In FP, children with ASD spent significantly more time in SB within social contexts compared to solitary contexts. ASD-related social deficits may facilitate SB in children with ASD during summer camp FP social contexts, compared to a solitary context.


Autism spectrum disorder Sedentary Children ASD Physical activity Social environment 



The authors would like to extend their gratitude to the summer camp directors and teachers, as well as to the children and parents for their participation in this study. We also would like to thank Paige Johnson, Tiffany Johnson, and Kelly Polin for their assistance with data collection.

Author Contributions

This study was conceived by MS, DD, and RR. MS coordinated the study and research assistants. GM, DD, and MS ran statistical analyses. MS, RR, DD, and GM were involved with data interpretation. MS drafted the manuscript, and RR, DD, and KM provided significant contribution to the content and revisions of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Michaela Schenkelberg, Richard Rosenkranz, George Milliken, Kristi Menear, David Dzewaltowski declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela A. Schenkelberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard R. Rosenkranz
    • 2
  • George A. Milliken
    • 3
  • Kristi Menear
    • 4
  • David A. Dzewaltowski
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics & HealthKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human StudiesUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center & Buffett Early Childhood InstituteOmahaUSA

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