The Association between Self-Regulation and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Preschoolers with Externalizing Behavior Problems
The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in predicting deficits in self-regulation across the domains of executive functioning and emotion regulation. Parents of 40 preschoolers with externalizing behavior problems reported on children’s ADHD and ASD symptoms, and emotion regulation. Children completed a standardized executive functioning battery. Results indicated that 28% of parents and 53% of teachers rated children above the subclinical range on ASD symptoms. An interaction emerged such that higher ASD symptoms were only associated with poorer executive functioning for children with lower ADHD symptoms. However, ASD symptoms were predictive of poorer emotion regulation independent of ADHD symptoms. Findings revealed clinically significant ASD symptoms, which aided in explaining heterogeneity in self-regulation deficits.
KeywordsExternalizing behavior problems Autism spectrum disorder Executive functioning Emotion regulation Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Rosmary Ros, Della Gregg, Katie C. Hart, and Paulo A. Graziano declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed 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 was obtained from all individual participant’s parents included in the study.
- Alloway, T. P., Gathercole, S. E., & Pickering, S. J. (2004). The automated working memory assessment. Test battery available from authors.Google Scholar
- Anastopoulos, A. D., Smith, T. F., Garrett, M. E., Morrissey-Kane, E., Schatz, N. K., Sommer, J. L., Kollins, S. H., & Ashley-Koch, A. (2011). Self-regulation of emotion, functional impairment, and comorbidity among childrenwith AD/HD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15(7), 583–592.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Association, A. P. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th text revision (pp. 553–557). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
- Downer, J. T., Booren, L. M., Lima, O. K., Luckner, A. E., & Pianta, R. C. (2010). The individualized classroom assessment scoring system (inCLASS): Preliminary reliability and validity of a system for observing preschoolers’ competence in classroom interactions. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(1), 1–16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Eisenberg, N., Gershoff, E. T., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A. J., Losoya, S. H., et al. (2001). Mother's emotional expressivity and children's behavior problems and social competence: Mediation through children's regulation. Developmental Psychology, 37(4), 475–490.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I. K., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S., Losoya, S., Murphy, B., Jones, S., Poulin, R., & Reiser, M. (2000). Prediction of elementary school children's externalizing problem behaviors from attentional and behavioral regulation and negative emotionality. Child Development, 71(5), 1367–1382.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Faja, S., Dawson, G., Sullivan, K., Meltzoff, A. N., Estes, A., & Bernier, R. (2016). Executive function predicts the development of play skills for verbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Research.Google Scholar
- Gioia, G. A., Espy, K. A., & Isquith, P. K. (2003). BRIEF-P: Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function--Preschool Version: Professional Manual: Psychological assessment resources.Google Scholar
- Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2009). Autism Spectrum rating scales (ASRS™). Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.Google Scholar
- Graziano, P. A., & Hart, K. (2016). Beyond behavior modification: benefits of social–emotional/self-regulation training for preschoolers with behavior problems. Journal of school psychology, 58, 91–111.Google Scholar
- Mitsis, E. M., McKAY, K. E., Schulz, K. P., Newcorn, J. H., & Halperin, J. M. (2000). Parent–teacher concordance for DSM-IV attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a clinic-referred sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 39(3), 308–313.Google Scholar
- Mulligan, A., Anney, R. J., O’Regan, M., Chen, W., Butler, L., Fitzgerald, M., et al. (2009). Autism symptoms in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A familial trait which correlates with conduct, oppositional defiant, language and motor disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(2), 197–209.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Nigg, J. T., & Barkley, R. A. (2014). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In E. Mash & R. Barkley (Eds.), Child Psychopathology (Vol. 3rd ed., pp. 75–144). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Ozonoff, S., Goodlin-Jones, B., & Solomon, M. (2007). Autism Spectrum disorders Assessment of Childhood Disorders (pp. 487–525). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Pelham, W. E., Evans, S. W., Gnagy, E. M., & Greenslade, K. E. (1992). Teacher ratings of DSM-III-R symptoms for the disruptive behavior disorders: Prevalence, factor analyses, and conditional probabilities in a special education sample. School Psychology Review, 21(2), 285–299.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (2004). BASC-2: Behavior assessment system for children.Google Scholar
- Ros, R., & Graziano, P. A. (2017). Social functioning in children with or at risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1–23.Google Scholar
- Rosenberg, R. E., Kaufmann, W. E., Law, J. K., & Law, P. A. (2011). Parent report of community psychiatric comorbid diagnoses in autism spectrum disorders. Autism Research and Treatment, 2011, 1–10.Google Scholar
- Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2004). Understanding self-regulation: An introduction. Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications, 1–9.Google Scholar
- Wechsler, D. (2012). Wechsler preschool and primary scale of intelligence (4th ed.). San Antonio: NCS Pearson.Google Scholar
- West, J., Denton, K., & Reaney, L. (2001). The kindergarten year. Washington, DC: US Department of Education.Google Scholar