Trends in documented co-occurring conditions in children with autism spectrum disorder, 2002–2010

Eric Rubenstein, Laura Schieve, Lisa Wiggins, Catherine Rice, Kim Van Naarden Braun, Deborah Christensen, Maureen Durkin, Julie Daniels, Li Ching Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Autism spectrumdisorder (ASD) commonly presents with co-occurring medical conditions (CoCs). Little is known about patterns in CoCs in a time of rising ASD prevalence. Aims: To describe trends in number and type of documented CoCs in 8-year-old children with ASD. Methods: We used Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM) data, a multi-source active surveillance system monitoring ASD prevalence among 8-year-old children across the US. Data from surveillance years 2002, 2006, 2008, and 2010 were used to describe trends in count, categories, and individual CoCs. Results: Mean number of CoCs increased from 0.94 CoCs in 2002 to 1.06 CoCs in 2010 (p < 0.001). The percentage of children with ASD with any CoC increased from 44.5% to 56.4% (p < 0.001). CoCs with the greatest increases were in general developmental disability (10.4% to 14.5%), language disorder (18.9% to 23.6%), and motor developmental disability (10.5% to 15.6%). Sex modified the relationship between developmental (P = 0.02) and psychiatric (P < 0.001) CoCs and surveillance year. Race/ethnicity modified the relationship between neurological conditions (P = 0.04) and surveillance year. Conclusions: The increase in the percentage of children with ASD and CoCs may suggest the ASD phenotype has changed over time or clinicians are more likely to diagnose CoCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Co-occurring conditions
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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