The relationship between autism spectrum disorders and symptoms of conduct problems: the moderating effect of communication

Megan Sipes, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Johnny L. Matson
Max Horovitz
Mary Shoemaker


OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between ASD diagnosis (i.e. Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and atypical developing control) and tantrum/conduct symptoms in infants and toddlers. Then examine the moderating role of communication. DESIGN: Analysis of Covariance was conducted for study 1 followed by hierarchical regression analyses for study 2. METHODS: The Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtIsm Traits, Part 2 was administered to the caregivers of 774 infants and toddlers. RESULTS: Those with autism exhibited the greatest tantrum/conduct symptoms followed by those with PDD-NOS and then atypical controls, F(3, 771) =94.42, p=0.003. Communication was not a significant moderator. CONCLUSIONS: Those with Autistic Disorder exhibited greater symptoms of tantrum/conduct problems, which is consistent with previous research. It seems that the relationship with communication as a moderator may differ in young children as their language skills are still in the early stages of development.