Disruptive behavior disorders in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the prevalence, presentation, and treatment

Aaron J. Kaat, Luc Lecavalier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often exhibit behaviors consistent with a disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD). Understanding the relationship between ASDs and DBDs has important implications for clinicians and researchers. We reviewed 55 peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 and 2012 on the prevalence, phenomenology, or psychosocial treatments of DBDs in youth with ASDs. Prevalence estimates vary between 4% and 37% for ODD and 1% and 10% for CD. On the whole, approximately one in four children with an ASD meets diagnostic criteria for either ODD or CD. Most research on phenomenology has focused on distinguishing between DBDs and ASDs, rather than examining their co-occurrence. After the preschool years, the disorders can be reliably distinguished, but certain behaviors are more common among those with ASDs compared to their non-ASD counterparts. If one excludes medication trials and single-subject designs, there have been few treatment studies on DBDs in ASDs. Parent training has been the primary mode of psychosocial treatment and has some support for its efficacy. Overall, when it comes to DBDs, there has been a dearth of research using DSM-nosology in youth with ASDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1594
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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