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The relationship between sensory reactivity differences and mental health symptoms in preschool-age autistic children

Rossow, T., MacLennan, K. and Tavassoli, T. The relationship between sensory reactivity differences and mental health symptoms in preschool-age autistic children. Autism Research. ISSN 1939-3806 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

There is growing evidence for an association between sensory reactivity and mental health in autism. This study set out to explore the relationship between sensory reactivity and mental health in pre-school aged autistic children. In total 54 preschool-aged children with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) took part. Sensory and mental health symptoms were obtained from the Sensory Processing Scale Inventory, Sensory Assessment of Neurodevelopmental Differences and the Behavioural Assessment System for Children – 3. Correlational analyses showed a relationship between sensory reactivity and mental health symptoms in autistic preschool-aged children. Results also indicate divergence in sensory-mental health profiles between autistic preschool-aged children who are verbal and those who use few to no words. For the first time this study has revealed a relationship between sensory hyperreactivity, as well as sensory seeking, and mental health symptoms outside of anxiety in autism. Of note, this relationship between sensory hyper-reactivity and internalising symptoms appears to be driven by those with few to no words. This has implications for both research and clinical interventions, in particular for our understanding of the factors underlying mental health symptoms in different autistic phenotypes, as well as the possible role of functional communication in mitigating the development of mental health symptoms.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:97714
Publisher:John Wiley

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