Handgrip strength in autism spectrum disorder compared with controls

Janet K. Kern, David A. Geier, James Adams, Melissa R. Troutman, Georgia A. Davis, Paul G. King, Mark R. Geier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The study examined handgrip strength in participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as compared with neurotypical children. Thirty-three children, aged 2-17 years, with an ASD and 33 gender-, race-, and age-matched neurotypical controls were tested using a handgrip dynamometer. The handgrip strength in participants with an ASD was significantly (p < 0.0001) lower than the neurotypical controls. The mean handgrip strength was 39.4 6 17.7 kPa in children with ASD and 65.1 ± 26.7 kPa in controls. The results support the hypothesis that children with an ASD have significantly poorer handgrip strength as compared with neurotypical children. Because the handheld dynamometer has been shown to be a valid tool for measuring overall muscle strength, the results suggest that children with ASD have muscle weakness. Future studies are needed to determine the extent of muscle weakness in ASD, its ramifications, and the possible benefits of muscle strengthening. The present study provides support for the use of handgrip strength as a tool for the assessment of targeted treatment in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2277-2281
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Handgrip dynamometer
  • Muscle strength
  • Physical condition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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