The objective of this study was to examine how behavioral manifestations of trauma due to abuse are expressed in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) compared outcomes between patients with a caregiver reported history of abuse and those without. Findings indicate that patients with ASD and reported abuse (i.e. physical, sexual, and/or emotional) have more intrusive thoughts, distressing memories, loss of interest, irritability, and lethargy than those without reported maltreatment. Those with clinical diagnoses of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had more severe and externalized symptoms than those with reported abuse not diagnosed with PTSD. Results emphasize the need for trauma screening measures to guide evidence-based treatments for children with ASD.
Keywords: Abuse; Autism inpatient collection; Autism spectrum disorder (ASD); Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); Psychological trauma.