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J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Oct;44(10):2383-91. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1743-1.

Reactive aggression among children with and without autism spectrum disorder.

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  • 1Department of Child Psychiatry, Tampere University Hospital, Box 2000, 33521, Tampere, Finland,


Twenty-seven boys and eight girls with ASD and thirty-five controls matched for gender, age and total score intelligence were studied to ascertain whether boys and girls with ASD display stronger reactive aggression than boys and girls without ASD. Participants performed a computerized version of the Pulkkinen aggression machine that examines the intensity of reactive aggression against attackers of varying gender and age. Relative to the control group boys, the boys with ASD reacted with more serious forms of aggression when subjected to mild aggressive attacks and did not consider a child attacker's opposite sex an inhibitory factor. The girls with ASD, on the other hand, reacted less aggressively than the girls without ASD. According to the results boys with ASD may not follow the typical development in cognitive regulation of reactive aggression.

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