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Early Self-Regulation in Infant Siblings: Specific and Shared Associations to Emerging Autism and Co-ocurring ADHD
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. (Development and neurodiversity lab (DIVE))ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4189-1690
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to examine aspects of self-regulation and the emergence of co-occurring autism and ADHD traits early in life, to enhance our understanding of specific and shared mechanisms underlying these conditions. Previous studies have shown that vulnerabilities in temperament and executive functions (EF) are closely related to both conditions, with overlapping as well as specific features associated to each phenotype. However, most previous studies focus on older children, and it is unclear if specific and shared markers are evident already before symptoms of autism and ADHD emerge. By using an infant-sibling design we were able to follow infants with a family history of autism and/or ADHD, before clinical symptoms emerge.  Study I and II focused on infant temperament as either predictors of later autistic and/or ADHD traits or as being predicted by familial quantitative traits, to understand specific and shared associations to autistic and ADHD traits. In Study I, we examined if temperament traits in 1.5-year olds predict autism and ADHD traits at 3 years. Parent-rated temperament showed specific associations to autistic or ADHD traits, respectively. We found some overlap in regulation difficulties across both trait domains. In Study II, we explored the possibility to use probands’ autistic and ADHD traits to predict temperament traits in their 10-month old infant siblings (a between-individual design). We found that higher levels of probands’ autistic symptoms were specifically associated to lower levels of infant sibling’s approach, whereas higher levels of proband’s ADHD symptoms were specifically associated to increased activity levels in the infant siblings. Proband autism and ADHD traits thus provide unique information about the infant siblings’ temperament. Study III focused on specific and shared links between executive functions and deferred gratification and concurrent associations to autistic traits, ADHD traits, and adaptive behaviors in 3-year-olds. We found that deferred gratification may function as a protective factor, moderating autistic traits and adaptive behaviors and thus act as a buffer for adaptive behaviors Together, these studies contribute to our understanding of specific and shared early aspects of self-regulation and their associations to autistic and/or ADHD traits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2023. , p. 83
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 217
Keywords [en]
Self-Regulation, Autism, ADHD, Temperament, Executive Functions
National Category
Psychology Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-513580ISBN: 978-91-513-1919-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-513580DiVA, id: diva2:1803256
Public defence
2023-11-24, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, 753 10 Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-11-01 Created: 2023-10-09 Last updated: 2023-11-01
List of papers
1. How Does Temperament in Toddlers at Elevated Likelihood for Autism Relate to Symptoms of Autism and ADHD at Three Years of Age?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How Does Temperament in Toddlers at Elevated Likelihood for Autism Relate to Symptoms of Autism and ADHD at Three Years of Age?
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2022 (English)In: Journal of autism and developmental disorders, ISSN 0162-3257, E-ISSN 1573-3432, Vol. 52, no 3, p. 995-1006Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The current study investigated longitudinal associations between parent-rated temperament, observed exuberance and accelerometer activity level at 18-months and symptoms of ASD and ADHD at 36-months in a sample of 54 children at elevated likelihood for ASD. For the specific parent-rated temperament scales, most observed significant associations appeared to be specific for either ASD or ADHD symptoms. Indeed, by controlling for overlapping symptoms a different pattern of associations emerged. These results illustrate how temperamental measures may signal risk for later ASD versus ADHD symptomatology in infants at elevated likelihood for ASD. In addition, they indicate the potential of adopting a broader view on neurodevelopmental disorders by investigating not only ASD traits, but also co-occurring disorders such as ADHD in samples of elevated likelihood for ASD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2022
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-440247 (URN)10.1007/s10803-021-05001-z (DOI)000640169200001 ()33852084 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2021-04-15 Created: 2021-04-15 Last updated: 2023-10-09Bibliographically approved
2. Using the Infant Sibling-Design to Explore Associations Between Autism and ADHD Traits in Probands and Temperament in the Younger Siblings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using the Infant Sibling-Design to Explore Associations Between Autism and ADHD Traits in Probands and Temperament in the Younger Siblings
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2023 (English)In: Journal of autism and developmental disorders, ISSN 0162-3257, E-ISSN 1573-3432Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the current study was to use the infant sibling design to explore whether proband traits of autism and ADHD could provide information about their infant sibling’s temperament. This could help us to gain information about the extent to which infant temperament traits are differentially associated with autism and ADHD traits. We used parent-ratings of autistic traits and ADHD traits (CRS-3) in older siblings diagnosed with autism (age range 4 to 19 years), and their infant siblings’ temperament traits (IBQ) at 9 months of age in 216 sibling pairs from two sites (BASIS, UK, and EASE, Sweden) to examine associations across siblings. We found specific, but modest, associations across siblings after controlling for sex, age, developmental level and site. Proband autistic traits were specifically related to low levels of approach in the infant siblings, with infant developmental level explaining part of the variance in infant approach. Proband ADHD traits were specifically related to high levels of infant activity even after controlling for covariates. Our findings suggest that proband traits of autism and ADHD carry information for infant sibling’s temperament, indicating that inherited liability may influence early emerging behaviours in infant siblings. The impact of sex, age, developmental level and site are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-506947 (URN)10.1007/s10803-023-06047-x (DOI)001016138600002 ()37355531 (PubMedID)
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, NHS14-1802:1Uppsala UniversityEU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 2007-2013
Available from: 2023-06-30 Created: 2023-06-30 Last updated: 2023-10-09
3. Deferred Gratification as a Protective factor for Autistic Symptom-Adaptive Behavior Associations in 3-Year-Olds
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deferred Gratification as a Protective factor for Autistic Symptom-Adaptive Behavior Associations in 3-Year-Olds
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Children with ASD and/or ADHD often struggle with tasks that demand executive functioning (EF) and deferred gratification. However, whether children with a family history of ASD and/or ADHD differ on these types of tasks in comparison to peers with a family history of typical likelihood is not known. In addition, little is known about the specificity of these domains in relation to autistic traits, ADHD traits and adaptive behaviors early in life and whether deferred gratification and strong EF skills may function as protective factors in the trait-adaptive behaviour association.

Methods:  A total of 77 infant siblings at 3 years of age participated in the study and we examined the effect of type of family history -FH-ASD, FH-ASD/ADHD and family history of typical likelihood FH-TL- on EF performance, deferred gratification skills and adaptive behaviors, as well as specific and shared associations, including moderation effects. Measures included behavioral lab-tasks (common EF and deferred gratification), parent-rated adaptive behavior using VABS, and clinician ratings using ADOS-2 (autistic symptoms) and ADHD DSM-5 Rating Scale (ADHD RS). 

Results: Lower levels of deferred gratification was specifically related to adaptive behavior, while lower level performance on common EF was specific for ADHD traits and adaptive behavior. Finally, deferred gratification moderated the association between autistic symptoms and adaptive behavior, in that stronger ability to defer gratification attenuated the association between autistic traits and adaptive functions. 

Conclusions: In terms of specificity, we found unique associations between deferred gratification and autistic traits, and between common EF and ADHD traits. Finally, the results are in line with the idea that strong EF may act as a protective factor for children with an elevated likelihood of ASD and/or ADHD. However, our findings point at more affective than cognitive aspects of EF as particularly important for attenuating the association between autistic traits and adaptive behaviors. 

Keywords
Executive Functions, Deferred Gratification, Adaptive Behavior, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
National Category
Psychology Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychology; Psychology; Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-513306 (URN)
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationStiftelsen Sunnerdahls HandikappfondRiksbankens JubileumsfondEuropean Commission, H2020 project CANDY
Available from: 2023-10-05 Created: 2023-10-05 Last updated: 2023-10-09

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