Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 11, pp 3885–3898 | Cite as

Response to Distress Varies by Social Impairment and Familiarity in Infants at Risk for Autism

  • Alexandra C. Dowd
  • Kassandra Martinez
  • Bridget C. Davidson
  • J. Gregory Hixon
  • A. Rebecca Neal-Beevers
Original Paper
  • 79 Downloads

Abstract

Early impaired response to social partners’ distress may negatively impact subsequent social development. Identifying factors contributing to successful responding may inform assessment and intervention. This study explores how: (1) social impairment, and (2) partner familiarity relate to response to partners’ distress. Infants with and without older siblings with ASD were assessed at 12 (n = 29) and 15 (n = 35) months for social impairment markers, and responses to mother and experimenter each feigning distress. Infants with more social impairment showed less attention and affect at 15, but not 12 months. Infants attended more to the unfamiliar person, but exhibited greater affect toward the familiar person at 12 months. Results revealed social impairment and familiarity were separately related to infant response to partners’ distress.

Keywords

Response to distress Social impairment Autism spectrum disorder Empathy Familiarity Social spectrum 

Notes

Author Contributions

Alexandra C. Dowd conceived of the theoretical approach to examining the data, was the gold-standard reliability coder, processed the experimental data, performed the analyses, interpreted the findings, designed the figures and tables, and took the lead in writing the manuscript. Dr. A. Rebecca Neal-Beevers supervised the project, provided critical feedback on the theoretical approach, aided in interpreting the results, and helped author and shape the manuscript. Kassandra Martinez helped identify nuances for the behavioral coding scheme for response to distress, behaviorally coded response to distress after reliability was established, drafted the initial methods section, and reviewed the manuscript. Dr. Bridget C. Davidson designed and directed the larger research project that this project extracts from, and she performed the experiments. Dr. J. Gregory Hixon contributed to the design of the analytic approach, supervised the analyses, and provided feedback on the manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by Institutional Research Funds provided by the authors’ university.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3653_MOESM1_ESM.docx (59 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 59 KB)

References

  1. Agresti, A., & Finlay, B. (2009). Statistical methods for the social sciences (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edition: DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bacon, A. L., Fein, D., Morris, R., Waterhouse, L., & Allen, D. (1998). The responses of autistic children to the distress of others. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28(2), 129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyd, B. A., McDonough, S. G., & Bodfish, J. W. (2012). Evidence-based behavioral interventions for repetitive behaviors in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(6), 1236–1248.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1284-z.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryson, S. E., Zwaigenbaum, L., McDermott, C., Rombough, V., & Brian, J. (2008). The Autism Observation Scale for Infants: Scale development and reliability data. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(4), 731–738.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0440-y.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, S. B., Leezenbaum, N. B., Schmidt, E. N., Day, T. N., & Brownell, C. A. (2015). Concern for another’s distress in toddlers at high and low genetic risk for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 3594–3605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Data & statistics. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html.
  8. Charman, T., Swettenham, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Cox, A., Baird, G., & Drew, A. (1997). Infants with autism: An investigation of empathy, pretend play, joint attention, and imitation. Developmental Psychology, 33(5), 781–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chawarska, K., Macari, S., & Shic, F. (2013). Decreased spontaneous attention to social scenes in 6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 74(3), 195–203.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.11.022.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Chevallier, C., Kohls, G., Troiani, V., Brodkin, E. S., & Schultz, R. T. (2012). The social motivation theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4), 231–239.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.02.007.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidov, M., Zahn-Waxler, C., Roth-Hanania, R., & Knafo, A. (2013). Concern for others in the first year of life: Theory, evidence, and avenues for research. Child Development Perspectives, 7(2), 126–131.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dawson, G., Toth, K., Abbott, R., Osterling, J., Munson, J., Estes, A., & Liaw, J. (2004). Early social attention impairments in autism: Social orienting, joint attention, and attention to distress. Developmental Psychology, 40(2), 271–283.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.40.2.271.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Deschamps, P. K. H., Been, M., & Matthys, W. (2014). Empathy and empathy induced prosocial behavior in 6- and 7-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 1749–1758.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2048-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fox, J. (2002). Linear mixed models. In An R and S-Plus companion to applied regression (appendix). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Gammer, I., Bedford, R., Elsabbagh, M., Garwood, H., Pasco, G., Tucker, L., et al. (2015). Behavioural markers for autism in infancy: Scores on the Autism Observational Scale for Infants in a prospective study of at-risk siblings. Infant Behavior and Development, 38, 107–115.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.12.017.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodman, A., Lamping, D. L., & Ploubidis, G. B. (2010). When to use broader internalising and externalising subscales instead of the hypothesised five subscales on the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ): Data from British parents, teachers and children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38(8), 1179–1191.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9434-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Hallmayer, J., Cleveland, S., Torres, A., Phillips, J., Cohen, B., Torigoe, T., et al. (2011). Genetic heritability and shared environmental factors among twin pairs with autism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(11), 1095–1102.  https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.76.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Hay, D. F., Nash, A., & Pederson, J. (1981). Responses of six-month-olds to the distress of their peers. Child Development, 52(3), 1071–1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hutman, T., Rozga, A., DeLaurentis, A. D., Barnwell, J. M., Sugar, C. A., & Sigman, M. (2010). Response to distress in infants at risk for autism: A prospective longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(9), 1010–1020.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02270.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Keinman, J. M., Robins, D. L., Ventola, P. E., Pandey, J., Boorstein, H. C., Esser, E. L. et al. (2008). The modified checklist for autism in toddlers: A follow-up study investigating the early detection of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(5), 827–839.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0450-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klin, A., Chawarska, K., Paul, R., Rubin, E., Morgan, T., Wiesner, L., & Volkmar, F. (2004). Autism in a 15-month-old child. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(11), 1981–1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Davidov, M., Van Hulle, C. A., Robinson, J., & Rhee, S. H. (2009). Empathy in early childhood. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167, 103–114.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04540.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Van Hulle, C. A., Robinson, J., & Rhee, S. H. (2008). The developmental origins of a disposition toward empathy: Genetic and environmental contributions. Emotion, 8(6), 737–752.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Koegel, R. L., Firestone, P. B., Kramme, K. W., & Dunlap, G. (1974). Increasing spontaneous play by suppressing self-stimulation in autistic children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 7(4), 521–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Loftin, R. L., Odom, S. L., & Lantz, J. F. (2008). Social interaction and repetitive motor behaviors. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1124–1135.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0499-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, S. L. (2012). Autism diagnostic observation schedule, second edition (ADOS-2). Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  27. Maynard, A. S., Monk, J. D., & Booker, K. W. (2011). Building empathy through identification and expression of emotions: A review of interactive tools for children with social deficits. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 6, 166–175.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15401383.2011.579874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McDonald, N. M., & Messinger, D. S. (2012). Empathic responding in toddlers at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 1566–1573.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1390-y.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  29. Montague, D. P. F., & Walker-Andrews, A. S. (2002). Mothers, fathers, and infants: The role of person familiarity and parental involvement in infants’ perception of emotion expressions. Child Development, 73(5), 1339–1352.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00475.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Moreno, A. J., Klute, M. M., & Robinson, J. L. (2008). Relational and individual resources as predictors of empathy in early childhood. Social Development, 17(3), 613–637.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2007.00441.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mundy, P. C., & Neal, A. R. (2001). Neural plasticity, joint attention, and a transactional social-orienting model of autism. International Review of Research in Mental Retardation, 23, 139–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nadig, A., Lee, I., Singh, L., Bosshart, K., & Ozonoff, S. (2010). How does the topic of conversation affect verbal exchange and eye gaze? A comparison between typical development and high-functioning autism. Neuropsychologia, 48(9), 2730–2739.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.05.020.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Nuzzolo-Gomez, R., Leonard, M. A., Ortiz, E., Rivera, C., & Greer, R. D. (2002). Teaching children with autism to prefer books or toys over stereotypy or passivity. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4(2), 80–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Osterling, J., Dawson, G., & Munson, J. A. (2002). Early recognition of 1-year-old infants with autism spectrum disorder versus mental retardation. Development and Psychopathology, 14(2), 239–251.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579402002031.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Ozonoff, S., Young, G. S., Belding, A., Hill, M., Hill, A., Hutman, T., et al. (2014). The broader autism phenotype in infancy: When does it emerge? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(4), 398–407.e2.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2013.12.020.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Ozonoff, S., Young, G. S., Carter, A., Messinger, D., Yirmiya, N., Zwaigenbaum, L., et al. (2011). Recurrence risk for autism spectrum disorders: A baby siblings research consortium study. Pediatrics, 128(3), e488–e495.  https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-2825.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Ozonoff, S., Young, G. S., Steinfeld, M. B., Hill, M. M., Cook, I., Hutman, T., et al. (2009). How early do parent concerns predict later autism diagnosis? Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(5), 367–375.  https://doi.org/10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181ba0fcf.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. Pinheiro & Bates. (2000). Mixed-effects models in S and S-plus. New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roth-Hanania, R., Davidov, M., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2011). Empathy development from 8 to 16 months: Early signs of concern for others. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(3), 447–458.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.04.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Rutter, M., Bailey, A., & Lord, C. (2003). Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  41. Sigman, M., Kasari, C., Yirmiya, N., & Kwon, J. H. (1992). Responses to the negative emotions of others by autistic, mentally retarded, and normal children. Child Development, 63(4), 796–807.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1992.tb01662.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Spinrad, T. L., & Stifter, C. A. (2006). Toddlers’ empathy-related responding to distress: Predictions from negative emotionality and maternal behavior in infancy. Infancy, 10(2), 97–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sroufe, L. A. (1977). Wariness of strangers and the study of infant development. Child Development, 48(3), 731–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. van der Mark, I. L., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2002). Development of empathy in girls during the second year of life: Associations with parenting, attachment, and temperament. Social Development, 11(4), 451–468.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9507.00210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Young, S. K., Fox, N. A., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (1999). The relations between temperament and empathy in 2-year-olds. Developmental Psychology, 35(5), 1189–1197.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.35.5.1189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Zahn-Waxler, C., Radke-Yarrow, M., & King, R. A. (1979). Child rearing and children’s prosocial initiations towards victims of distress. Child Development, 50, 319–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zahn-Waxler, C., Radke-Yarrow, M., Wagner, E., & Chapman, M. (1992). Development of concern for others. Developmental Psychology, 28(1), 126–136.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0012-1649.28.1.126 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra C. Dowd
    • 1
  • Kassandra Martinez
    • 1
  • Bridget C. Davidson
    • 2
  • J. Gregory Hixon
    • 3
  • A. Rebecca Neal-Beevers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Mailman Center for Child DevelopmentUniversity of Miami, Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations