Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 11, pp 3658–3667 | Cite as

Behavioral Outcomes of Specialized Psychiatric Hospitalization in the Autism Inpatient Collection (AIC): A Multisite Comparison

  • Kahsi A. PedersenEmail author
  • Susan L. Santangelo
  • Robin L. Gabriels
  • Giulia Righi
  • Michael Erard
  • Matthew Siegel
S.I. : Autism Inpatient Collection - Studying the Severely Affected


Psychiatric hospitalization of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is relatively common and occurs at a higher rate than in non-ASD youth. This study compared changes in the severity of serious problem behaviors in 350 youth with ASD enrolled in the autism inpatient collection during and after hospitalization in six specialized child psychiatry units. There was a significant reduction in serious problem behaviors from admission (aberrant behavior checklist—irritability subscale M = 29.7, SD 9.6) to discharge (M = 15.0, SD 10.3) and 2-month follow-up (M = 19.3, SD 10.3). Between discharge and 2-month follow-up, tantrum-like behaviors but not self-injurious behaviors increased slightly. Improvement in the severity of problem behaviors was not uniform across sites, even after controlling for measured site differences.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Psychiatric inpatients Crisis Autism inpatient collection (AIC) Externalizing problem behaviors Self-injurious behavior Tantrum-like behavior 



The ADDIRC is made up of the co-investigators: Matthew Siegel, MD (PI) (Maine Medical Center Research Institute; Tufts University), Craig Erickson, MD (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; University of Cincinnati), Robin L. Gabriels, PsyD (Children’s Hospital Colorado; University of Colorado), Desmond Kaplan, MD (Sheppard Pratt Health System), Carla Mazefsky, PhD (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics; University of Pittsburgh), Eric M. Morrow, MD, PhD (Bradley Hospital; Brown University), Giulia Righi, PhD (Bradley Hospital; Brown University), Susan L Santangelo, ScD (Maine Medical Center Research Institute; Tufts University), and Logan Wink, MD (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; University of Cincinnati). Collaborating investigators and staff: Jill Benevides, BS, Carol Beresford, MD, Carrie Best, MPH, Katie Bowen, LCSW, Briar Dechant, BS, Tom Flis, BCBA, LCPC, Holly Gastgeb, PhD, Angela Geer, BS, Louis Hagopian, PhD, Benjamin Handen, PhD, BCBA-D, Adam Klever, BS, Martin Lubetsky, MD, Kristen MacKenzie, BS, Zenoa Meservy, MD, John McGonigle, PhD, Kelly McGuire, MD, Faith McNeill, BA, Ernest Pedapati, MD, Christine Peura, BA, Joseph Pierri, MD, Christie Rogers, MS, CCC-SLP, Brad Rossman, MA, Jennifer Ruberg, LISW, Cathleen Small, PhD, Kahsi A. Pedersen, PhD, Nicole Stuckey, MSN, RN, Barbara Tylenda, PhD, Mary Verdi, MA, Jessica Vezzoli, BS, Deanna Williams, BA, and Diane Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the coordinating site advisory group: Donald L. St. Germain, MD and Girard Robinson, MD, and our scientific advisory group: Connie Kasari, PhD., Bryan King, MD, James McCracken, MD, Christopher McDougle, MD, Lawrence Scahill, MSN, PhD, Robert Schultz, PhD and Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD, the input of the funding organizations and the families and children who participated. The authors would also like to thank William L. Cook, PhD, for consulting on statistical analysis.


The Autism Inpatient Collection (AIC) phenotypic database and biorepository is supported by a grant from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, (SFARI #296318 to M.S.).

Author Contributions

KAP and MS for conceptualization and significant writing of the manuscript, KAP for statistical analyses, SLS, RLG, GR, and ME for significant writing and revisions of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kahsi A. Pedersen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Susan L. Santangelo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Robin L. Gabriels
    • 5
  • Giulia Righi
    • 6
    • 7
  • Michael Erard
    • 1
  • Matthew Siegel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Outcomes Research and EvaluationMaine Medical Center Research InstitutePortlandUSA
  2. 2.Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Developmental Disorders ProgramSpring Harbor HospitalWestbrookUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryMaine Medical CenterPortlandUSA
  5. 5.University of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  6. 6.Emma Pendleton Bradley HospitalProvidenceUSA
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorAlpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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