Temperament as a Predictor of Symptomotology and Adaptive Functioning in Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism

Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 02/2009; 39(6):842-55. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0690-y
Source: PubMed


Variation in temperament is characteristic of all people but is rarely studied as a predictor of individual differences among individuals with autism. Relative to a matched comparison sample, adolescents with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) reported lower levels of Surgency and higher levels of Negative Affectivity. Variability in temperament predicted symptomotology, social skills, and social-emotional outcomes differently for individuals with HFA than for the comparison sample. This study is unique in that temperament was measured by self-report, while all outcome measures were reported by parents. The broader implications of this study suggest that by identifying individual variability in constructs, such as temperament, that may influence adaptive functioning, interventions may be developed to target these constructs and increase the likelihood that individuals with HFA will achieve more adaptive life outcomes.

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    • "We propose that improved understanding of the interplay between parent and infant temperament may be useful for family-based intervention. Intervention of this kind may support the development of effective emotion regulation strategies, decrease externalizing behaviors, and improve the quality of a child's later social skills, in light of documented relations between temperament and adaptive skills among adolescents with ASD (Schwartz et al. 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Temperament atypicalities have been documented in infancy and early development in children who develop autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The current study investigates whether there are differences in developmental trajectories of temperament between infants and toddlers with and without ASD. Parents of infant siblings of children with autism completed the Carey Temperament Scales about their child at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months of age. Temperament trajectories of children with ASD reflected increases over time in activity level, and decreasing adaptability and approach behaviors relative to high-risk typically developing (TD) children. This study is the first to compare temperament trajectories between high-risk TD infants and infants subsequently diagnosed with ASD in the developmental window when overt symptoms of ASD first emerge.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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    • "This was true as early as the first year of life, but also maintained during the second year. This is most likely to explain the higher levels of Surgency factor seen in the subgroup of infants developing ASD, overall, and inconsistent with some findings in the literature on Surgency in older children with ASD (Landry 1998; Schwartz et al. 2009). However, there is variability regarding what Surgency comprises across studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study investigated early temperament in 54 infants at familial high-risk of ASD and 50 controls. Parental report of temperament was assessed around 7, 14 and 24 months of age and diagnostic assessment was conducted at 3 years. The high-risk group showed reduced Surgency at 7 and 14 months and reduced Effortful Control at 14 and 24 months, compared to controls. High-risk infants later diagnosed with ASD were distinguished from controls by a temperament profile marked by increased Perceptual Sensitivity from the first year of life, and increased Negative Affect and reduced Cuddliness in the second year of life. Temperament may be an important construct for understanding the early infant development of ASD.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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    • "The notion that temperament may vary across individuals with ASD has support from one empirical study as well as plausible face validity based on anecdotal descriptions of differences related to social behavior, affect, and attention. Schwartz et al. (2009) found considerable variability in temperament across teenagers with high-functioning autism. Case examples support this finding. "
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    ABSTRACT: Temperament is important for considering differences among diagnostic groups and for understanding individual differences that predict problematic behavior. Temperament characteristics, such as negative affectivity, effortful control, and surgency (highly active and impulsive), are predictive of externalizing behavior in typically developing children, but these links have not been investigated among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the present study, the authors analyzed differences in temperament between children with ASD and neurotypical children, investigated the range of individual differences within our sample, and examined the relationship between temperament and problem behavior. A few differences in temperament between the ASD sample and reference sample were noted and considerable variability in temperament was observed across children with ASD. High negative affectivity, high surgency, and low effortful control were related to problem behavior as measured by parent questionnaire. The potential utility of temperament assessment in developing new intervention options for addressing problem behavior is discussed.
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