Sweat Predicts Aggression in Teens with Autism

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

bSci21Media, LLC

ScienceDaily recently reported on research our of the University of Missouri-Columbia, on the extent to which the sweat response predicts aggression in teens diagnosed with Autism.  Bradley Ferguson, lead author on the study, used monitors on the wrists and ankles of eight teens, and found that increases in electrodermal activity appeared prior to an episode of aggression by about 60%.

He was quoted as saying “if parents or caregivers are notified ahead of time that their child’s stress levels are rising, they might have a chance to intervene and de-escalate the situation before problem behaviors occur.”  From an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) perspective, he is talking about acting on the stress response as a precursor behavior to aggression.  In this way one can prompt more adaptive communication or other responses before aggression occurs.

Technologies that closely monitor physiological state in a practical way could allow clinicians to further improve treatment efforts.  Fore more information on this research, including a link to the journal article, please visit ScienceDaily.

What do you think of this research?  Could it be helpful in your own work?  Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition.  He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward can be reached at [email protected]

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