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J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Oct;38(9):1710-20. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0556-8. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Predictors of psychiatric symptoms in children with an autism spectrum disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Putnam Hall-South Campus, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8790, USA.


This study examined mental health risk/protective factors for DSM-IV psychiatric symptoms in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their contribution to functioning separate from ASD symptom severity. Mothers/teachers completed measures of risk/protection and social, adaptive, and school functioning in 6- to 12-year-olds with a diagnosed ASD (N = 238). Bivariate correlations and simultaneous regression analyses indicated a unique pattern of predictors for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, aggression, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Moreover, psychiatric symptoms differentially predicted social and school performance. Findings indicate that co-occurring psychiatric symptoms and their associated mental health risk/protective factors may have important clinical implications and generally support a biopsychosocial model of psychopathology in children with an ASD that appears to share many similarities with models for non ASD children.

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