Differences in the severity and variability of restricted and repetitive behaviors in ASD children with and without service experiences

Ju Hee Park, Young Shin Kim, Yun Joo Koh, Bennett L. Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite the importance of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), specific RRBs that distinguish children with ASD who are receiving services from those who have ASD but are unidentified and untreated until school age remain unclear. This study examined the differences in the severity and variability of RRBs among three groups (ASD with service experiences [ASDws], ASD without service experiences [ASDwos], and No ASD) and investigated specific RRBs predicting group membership. Method: A total of 296 children who screened positive for ASD completed confirmative diagnostic assessments. The severity and variability scores of RRBs were obtained using 16 items of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. Results: Both ASD groups had higher proportions of children with severe RRBs for the majority of RRBs and exhibited a greater number of RRBs than the No ASD group. However, discrepancies between the ASDwos and the No ASD groups were not as apparent as those between the ASDws and the No ASD groups. RRBs characterized by a repetitive motor/physical component and unusual sensory responses differentiated the ASDws group from the ASDwos group. Conversely, RRBs characterized by rigid adherence to routine, and ritualistic behavior increased the odds of membership in the ASDwos group over the No ASD group. Conclusions: Our results may improve the ability of clinicians and parents to detect ASD in the community by observing specific RRBs, especially in cognitively intact school-aged children who show significant compulsive/ritualistic behaviors and rigidity to routines/sameness RRBs, even in the absence of multiple RRBs or severe repetitive sensorimotor behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101672
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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