Behavioral Phenotype of ASD Preschoolers with Gastrointestinal Symptoms or Food Selectivity

Margherita Prosperi, Elisa Santocchi, Giulia Balboni, Antonio Narzisi, Margherita Bozza, Francesca Fulceri, Fabio Apicella, Roberta Igliozzi, Angela Cosenza, Raffaella Tancredi, Sara Calderoni, Filippo Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the prevalence and type of gastrointestinal (GI) and food selectivity (FS) symptoms in 163 preschoolers with ASD, and their possible links with core ASD features and emotional/behavioural problems. 40.5% of children with ASD had at least one severe GI symptom or FS. Preschoolers with and without GI symptoms and with and without FS were significantly different on several emotional/behavioural problems and restrictive/repetitive behaviours, whereas they did not differ significantly on performance IQ and autistic severity. The GI plus FS group presented with Sleep Problems, Self-injurious Behaviors and Anxiety Problems. Results indicated the need for early identification of GI disturbances and FS in order to design tailored intervention for these symptoms frequently associated to challenging behaviours in ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3574-3588
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Anxiety Problems
  • Child Behavior Checklist 1½–5
  • Externalizing Problems
  • Restrictive and repetitive behaviours
  • Sleep Problems
  • Young Children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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