Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience obsessions and compulsions similar to those specified in DSM-5 for obsessive compulsive disorder yet little controlled research exists on treating these behaviours. Thirty-seven children (7–13 years old) were randomly assigned to a 9-week functional behavior-based cognitive behavior therapy (Fb-CBT) or Treatment As Usual. Independent assessors administered measures pre- and post-treatment and at 6-months. Two primary outcome measures indicated statistically significant differences between groups, with large corrected effect sizes (Hedge’s g = 1.00 and 1.15, respectively). This is the first known RCT to exclusively treat obsessive compulsive behaviors (OCBs) in children and youth with high functioning (IQ ≥ 70) ASD, and suggests that Fb-CBT treatment shows promise in decreasing these behaviors and improving quality of life. Trial Registration This trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (ID: NCT03123146).
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We sincerely thank the participants, their families, and agencies for their support of this project. This research was funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Funding sources did not have a specific role in the study itself, or in decision to submit this paper for publication.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Vause, T., Jaksic, H., Neil, N. et al. Functional Behavior-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 2375–2388 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3772-x
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Obsessive compulsive behavior
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Function-based assessment