Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests and Inhibitory Control in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: To determine whether variation in RRBIs relates to impaired inhibitory control in a Stroop task in children with ASD.
Methods: 64 children with ASD between the ages of 7- and 12-years-old were included in analyses. All children had a full-scale IQ above 85. Children participated in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) and parents completed survey and interview measures about their child, including the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Children's behavioral responses were recorded during a computer-based Stroop task. Stroop difference scores were computed from accuracy scores on incongruent and congruent trials, with larger difference scores indicating a failure to inhibit a learned verbal response. Children's inhibitory control in the Stroop task was analyzed with parental reports of RRBIs on the ADI-R and RBS-R, and researcher ratings of RRBIs during the ADOS-2. Higher-order RRBI scores were computed from subscale items on the ADOS-2, ADI-R, and RBS-R.
Results: Correlations between higher-order RRBI scores on the ADI-R and RBS-R and Stroop difference scores were not significant, however higher-order scores on the ADOS-2 were positively correlated with Stroop difference scores (r = .292, p = .019). A linear regression controlling for age and verbal IQ found a significant relationship between higher-order ADOS-2 RRBIs and Stroop difference scores (R2change = .075, t(62) = 2.27, p = .027). No relation was found between global RRBI subscales from the ADOS-2, ADI-R, or RBS-R and Stroop performance.
Conclusions: RRBIs were inconsistently related to inhibitory control; however findings suggest readily observable higher-order RRBIs (e.g. via the ADOS-2) may be more indicative of children's current inhibitory skills than parental reports. Analysis of participants' behavioral and electrophysiological responses to a Go-No-Go task is ongoing and will allow further examination of inhibitory control as it relates to RRBIs. Given the significant interference of RRBIs in everyday functioning, computer-based EF training may be an efficacious and desirable intervention for reducing higher-order RRBIs through improved inhibitory control.
See more of: Sensory, Motor, and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests