The Relationship Between Sensory Sensitivity and Autistic Traits in the General Population

J Autism Dev Disord. 2013 Apr;43(4):775-84. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1608-7.

Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) tend to have sensory processing difficulties (Baranek et al. in J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:591-601, 2006). These difficulties include over- and under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli, and problems modulating sensory input (Ben-Sasson et al. in J Autism Dev Disorders 39:1-11, 2009). As those with ASD exist at the extreme end of a continuum of autistic traits that is also evident in the general population, we investigated the link between ASD and sensory sensitivity in the general population by administering two questionnaires online to 212 adult participants. Results showed a highly significant positive correlation (r = .775, p < .001) between number of autistic traits and the frequency of sensory processing problems. These data suggest a strong link between sensory processing and autistic traits in the general population, which in turn potentially implicates sensory processing problems in social interaction difficulties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / diagnosis
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult