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Predictors of Aggressive Behaviour in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Mirjana V. ĐORĐEVIĆ1,
Nenad P. GLUMBIĆ1,
Branislav B. BROJČIN1,
Milena P. JOJIĆ2

1University of Belgrade – Faculty of Special Education,
and Rehabilitation, Belgrade, Serbia
2School „Dušan Dugalić“, Belgrade, Serbia
Received: 26-October-2019
Revised: 20-November-2019
Accepted: 25-Novemeber-2019
Online first: 26-Novemeber-2019


Introduction: Aggressive behaviour is not the main symptom of autism spectrum disorders, and if it occurs in this population, it is a consequence of some other factors.

Objectives: With regard to that, the aim of this paper is to determine to what extent certain aspects of executive functions, severity of autism, sleep habits, and parenting actions contribute to the manifestation of different forms of aggressive behaviour in children with an autism spectrum disorder.

Methods: The sample included 40 children with autism spectrum disorders, 5-7 years of age (M=6.18, SD= .55). The following instruments were used in the assessment: The Children’s Scale of Hostility and Aggression – Reactive/Proactive, Gilliam Autism Rating Scale – Third Edition, The Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function.

Results: The obtained results showed that sleep problems were the most significant predictor of verbal, physical and covert aggression. From the domain of behavioural aspects of executive functions, only task monitor was a significant predictor of bullying, and inhibit and shift were significant predictors of hostility. From the field of autistic disorders, significant predictors of aggressive behaviour were emotional responses (as predictors of bullying, covert aggression and hostility), and maladaptive speech (as a predictor of verbal aggression, covert aggression and hostility). Punitive discipline was a significant factor only in explaining verbal aggression.

Conclusion: Practical implications of this research indicate that, in treating aggressive behaviour in children with ASD, more attention should be paid to sleep habits, practising task monitor, inhibit and shift skills, and avoiding rigorous punitive measures.


Key words: Maladaptive behaviour, Sleep habits, Executive functions


Citation: Đorđević, M. V., Glumbić, N. P., Brojčin, B. B., Jojić M. P. Predictors of Aggressive Behaviour in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities.

Copyright ©2019 Đorđević, M. V., Glumbić, N. P., Brojčin, B. B., Jojić M. P. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Corresponding address:
University of Belgrade,
Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation,
St. Visokog Stevana 2, Belgrade, Serbia

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