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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sleep Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Author(s): Alba, Laura A
  • Advisor(s): Johnson, Austin H.
  • et al.

The purpose of the current study was to examine the effect of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs) on the relationship between sleep problems and externalizing behaviors in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sixty-six participants with ASD and a mean age of 4 years and their parents participated in the study. Parents reported on their child’s sleep, ASD symptoms, and externalizing behavior during a one-time lab visit. Bivariate correlations and a mediation analysis were conducted to assess the associations between sleep problems, externalizing behavior, and RRB. Results suggested that children with higher scores in measures of RRB had higher scores in sleep problems and externalizing behavior. Results also suggested that RRB partially mediated the relationship between sleep problems and externalizing behavior. Implications for the early identification of sleep and behavior problems, as well as ASD symptoms, are discussed.

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