Association of rigid-compulsive behavior with functional constipation in autism spectrum disorder

Sarah Marler, Bradley J. Ferguson, Evon Batey Lee, Brittany Peters, Kent C. Williams, Erin McDonnell, Eric A. Macklin, Pat Levitt, Kara Gross Margolis, David Q. Beversdorf, Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Based upon checklist data from the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, we hypothesized that functional constipation (FC) would be associated with rigid-compulsive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We used the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms-Rome III to assess FC symptoms in 108 children with ASD. As hypothesized, FC was associated with parent ratings on the Repetitive Behavior Scales-Revised (RBS-R) Compulsive, Ritualistic, and Sameness subscales in the overall population. Of note, FC was less common in children who were not taking medications that target behavior or treat FC. In the medication-freechildren, rigid-compulsive behavior was not significantly associated with FC. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying these associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1673-1681
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Developmental
  • Enteric
  • Gut
  • Medical comorbidity
  • Microbiome
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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