Skip to main content

Physiological Response to Social Evaluative Threat in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was employed to study response to social evaluative threat in male adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, n = 21) and typical development (n = 13). Participants wore a mobile electrocardiogram to collect heart rate data. There were significant group effects on respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), a measure of parasympathetic nervous system function, with lower values in ASD (F = 4.97). Bivariate correlations also showed a significant relationship between parent reports of social problems and RSA response to the TSST (r = −0.586). These findings suggest that autonomic dysregulation may contribute to social deficits in adolescents with ASD.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M., Howell, C. T., Quay, H. C., & Conners, C. K. (1991). National survey of problems and competencies among four- to sixteen-year-olds: Parents’ reports for normative and clinical samples. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 56(3), 1–131.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Allen, A. P., Kennedy, P. J., Cryan, J. F., Dinan, T. G., & Clarke, G. (2014). Biological and psychological markers of stress in humans: Focus on the Trier Social Stress Test. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 38, 94–124. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.11.005.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Althaus, M., Mulder, L. J., Mulder, G., Aarnoudse, C. C., & Minderaa, R. B. (1999). Cardiac adaptivity to attention-demanding tasks in children with a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Biological Psychiatry, 46(6), 799–809.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Althaus, M., Van Roon, A. M., Mulder, L. J., Mulder, G., Aarnoudse, C. C., & Minderaa, R. B. (2004). Autonomic response patterns observed during the performance of an attention-demanding task in two groups of children with autistic-type difficulties in social adjustment. Psychophysiology, 41(6), 893–904. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2004.00252.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Alvares, G. A., Quintana, D. S., Hickie, I. B., & Guastella, A. J. (2016). Autonomic nervous system dysfunction in psychiatric disorders and the impact of psychotropic medications: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of psychiatry and neuroscience, 41(2), 89–104.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. APA. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bal, E., Harden, E., Lamb, D., Van Hecke, A. V., Denver, J. W., & Porges, S. W. (2010). Emotion recognition in children with autism spectrum disorders: Relations to eye gaze and autonomic state. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(3), 358–370. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0884-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Beauchaine, T. P. (2015). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia: A transdiagnostic biomarker of emotion dysregulation and psychopathology. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 43–47. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.01.017.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Beauchaine, T. P., Gatzke-Kopp, L., Neuhaus, E., Chipman, J., Reid, M. J., & Webster-Stratton, C. (2013). Sympathetic- and parasympathetic-linked cardiac function and prediction of externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, and prosocial behavior among preschoolers treated for ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(3), 481–493. doi:10.1037/a0032302.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Benevides, T. W., & Lane, S. J. (2015). A review of cardiac autonomic measures: Considerations for examination of physiological response in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(2), 560–575. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1971-z.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bolte, S., Westerwald, E., Holtmann, M., Freitag, C., & Poustka, F. (2011). Autistic traits and autism spectrum disorders: the clinical validity of two measures presuming a continuum of social communication skills. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(1), 66–72.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Brown, B. B., Eicher, S. A., & Petrie, S. (1986). The importance of peer group (“crowd”) affiliation in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 9(1), 73–96.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Buske-Kirschbaum, A., Jobst, S., Wustmans, A., Kirschbaum, C., Rauh, W., & Hellhammer, D. (1997). Attenuated free cortisol response to psychosocial stress in children with atopic dermatitis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59(4), 419–426.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Butler, E. A., Wilhelm, F. H., & Gross, J. J. (2006). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, emotion, and emotion regulation during social interaction. Psychophysiology, 43(6), 612–622. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00467.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Calkins, S. D., & Dedmon, S. E. (2000). Physiological and behavioral regulation in two-year-old children with aggressive/destructive behavior problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28, 103–118.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Canivez, G. L., Konold, T. R., Collins, J. M., & Wilson, G. (2009). Construct validity of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence and Wide Range Intelligence Test: Convergent and structural validity. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(4), 252–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Chandler, S., Charman, T., Baird, G., Simonoff, E., Loucas, T., Meldrum, D., & Pickles, A. (2007). Validationg of the social communication questionnaire in a population cohort of children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(10), 1324–1332.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Charlot, L., Deutsch, C. K., Albert, A., Hunt, A., Connor, D. F., & McIlvane, W. J. (2008). Mood and anxiety symptoms in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder and depression. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 1(4), 238–253. doi:10.1080/19315860802313947.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Childs, E., Van Dam, N. T., & de Wit, H. (2010). Effects of acute progesterone administration upon responses to acute psychosocial stress in men. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 18(1), 78–86. doi:10.1037/a0018060.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Compas, B. E., Hinden, B. R., & Gerhardt, C. A. (1995). Adolescent development: Pathways and processes of risk and resilience. Annual Review of Psychology, 46, 265–293. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.46.020195.001405.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Constantino, J. N., & Gruber, C. P. (2005). Social responsiveness scale. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Corbett, B. A., Schupp, C. W., & Lanni, K. E. (2012). Comparing biobehavioral profiles across two social stress paradigms in children with and without autism spectrum disorders. Molecular Autism, 3(1), 13. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-3-13.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Corbett, B. A., Schupp, C. W., Simon, D., Ryan, N., & Mendoza, S. (2010). Elevated cortisol during play is associated with age and social engagement in children with autism. Molecular Autism, 1(1), 13. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-1-13.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Cui, L., Morris, A. S., Harrist, A. W., Larzelere, R. E., Criss, M. M. Houltberg, B. J. (2015). Adolescent RSA responses during an anger discussion task: Relations to emotion regulation and adjustment. Emotion, 15(3), 360–372.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Daluwatte, C., Miles, J. H., & Yao, G. (2012). Simultaneously measured pupillary light reflex and heart rate variability in healthy children. Physiological Measurement, 33(6), 1043–1052. doi:10.1088/0967-3334/33/6/1043.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. D’Antono, B., Moskowitz, D. S., Miners, C., & Archambault, J. (2005). Gender and communal trait differences in the relations among social behaviour, affect arousal, and cardiac autonomic control. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 28(3), 267–279. doi:10.1007/s10865-005-4663-0.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. De Meersman, R. E. (1993). Aging as a modulator of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Journal of Gerontology, 48(2), B74–B78.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Diamond, L. M., Hicks, A. M., & Otter-Henderson, K. D. (2011). Individual differences in vagal regulation moderate associations between daily affect and daily couple interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(6), 731–744. doi:10.1177/0146167211400620.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Dieleman, G. C., Huizink, A. C., Tulen, J. H. M., Utens, E. M. W. J., Creemers, H. E., van der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. C. (2015). Alterations in HPA-axis and autonomic nervous system functioning in childhood anxiety disorders point to a chronic stress hypothesis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 51, 135–150.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Dubin, A. H., Lieberman-Betz, R., & Michele Lease, A. (2015). Investigation of individual factors associated with anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(9), 2947–2960. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2458-x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Eiland, L., & Romeo, R. D. (2013). Stress and the developing adolescent brain. Neuroscience, 249, 162–171. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.10.048.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Ernst, J. M., Litvack, D. A., Lozano, D. L., Cacioppo, J. T., & Berntson, G. G. (1999). Impedance pneumography: Noise as signal in impedance cardiography. Psychophysiology, 36, 333–338.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Espelage, D. L., Bosworth, K., & Simon, T. R. (2001). Short-term stability and prospective correlates of bullying in middle-school students: An examination of potential demographic, psychosocial, and environmental influences. Violence and Victims, 16(4), 411–426.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Fisher, A. J., & Newman, M. G. (2013). Heart rate and autonomic response to stress after experimental induction of worry versus relaxation in healthy, high-worry, and generalized anxiety disorder individuals. Biological Psychology, 93, 65–74.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Foley, P., & Kirschbaum, C. (2010). Human hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to acute psychosocial stress in laboratory settings. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(1), 91–96. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.01.010.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Friedman, B. H. (2007). An autonomic flexibility-neurovisceral integration model of anxiety and cardiac vagal tone. Biological Psychology, 74, 185–199.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Gjevik, E., Eldevik, S., Fjæran-Granum, T., & Sponheim, E. (2011). Kiddie-SADS reveals high rates of DSM-IV disorders in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(6), 761–769. doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1095-7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Gordon, J. L., & Girdler, S. S. (2014). Mechanisms underlying hemodynamic and neuroendocrine stress reactivity at different phases of the menstrual cycle. Psychophysiology, 51(4), 309–318. doi:10.1111/psyp.12177.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Granger, D. A., Hibel, L. C., Fortunato, C. K., & Kapelewski, C. H. (2009). Medication effects on salivary cortisol: Tactics and strategy to minimize impact in behavioral and developmental science. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34(10), 1437–1448. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.06.017.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Graziano, P., & Derefinko, K. (2013). Cardiac vagal control and children’s adaptive functioning: A meta-analysis. Biological Psychology, 94(1), 22–37. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.04.011.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Gunnar, M. R., Wewerka, S., Frenn, K., Long, J. D., & Griggs, C. (2009). Developmental changes in hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal activity over the transition to adolescence: Normative changes and associations with puberty. Development and Psychopathology, 21(1), 69–85. doi:10.1017/S0954579409000054.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Guy, L., Souders, M., Bradstreet, L., DeLussey, C., & Herrington, J. D. (2014). Brief report: Emotion regulation and respiratory sinus arrhythmia in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(10), 2614–2620. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2124-8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Hastings, P. D., Klimes-Dougan, B., Kendziora, K. T., Brand, A., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2014). Regulating sadness and fear from outside and within: Mothers’ emotion socialization and adolescents’ parasympathetic regulation predict the development of internalizing difficulties. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 1369–1384.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Hastings, P. D., Nuselovici, J. N., Utendale, W. T., Coutya, J., McShane, K. E., & Sullivan, C. (2008). Applying the polyvagal theory to children’s emotion regulation: Social context, socialization, and adjustment. Biological Psychology, 79(3), 299–306. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.07.005.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Hayward, C., Killen, J. D., & Taylor, C. B. (2003). The relationship between agoraphobia symptoms and panic disorder in a non-clinical sample of adolescents. Psychological Medicine, 33(4), 733–738.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Heilman, K. J., Bal, E., Bazhenova, O. V., Sorokin, Y., Perlman, S. B., Hanley, M. C., & Porges, S. W. (2008). Physiological responses to social and physical challenges in children: Quantifying mechanisms supporting social engagement and mobilization behaviors. Developmental Psychobiology, 50(2), 171–182. doi:10.1002/dev.20257.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Hinnant, J. B., & El-Sheikh, M. (2009). Children’s externalizing and internalizing symptoms over time: the role of individual differences in patterns of RSA responding. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(8), 1049–1061. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9341-1.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Hollocks, M. J., Howlin, P., Papadopoulos, A. S., Khondoker, M., & Simonoff, E. (2014). Differences in HPA-axis and heart rate responsiveness to psychosocial stress in children with autism spectrum disorders with and without co-morbid anxiety. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 46, 32–45. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.04.004.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Holtmann, M., Bölte, S., & Poustka, F. (2007). Autism spectrum disorders: Sex differences in autistic behaviour domains and coexisting psychopathology. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 49(5), 361–366. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.00361.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Hutt, C., Hutt, S. J., Lee, D., & Ounsted, C. (1964). Arousal and childhood autism. Nature, 204, 908–909.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Jarrin, D. C., McGrath, J. J., Poirier, P., Séguin, L., Tremblay, R. E., Montplaisir, J. Y., & Séguin, J. R. (2015). Short-term heart rate variability in a population-based sample of 10-year-old children. Pediatric Cardiology, 36(1), 41–48. doi:10.1007/s00246-014-0962-y.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Jennings, J. R., & Mack, M. E. (1984). Does aging differentially reduce heart rate variability related to respiration? Experimental Aging Research, 10(1), 19–23. doi:10.1080/03610738408258536.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Kirsch, V., Wilhelm, F. H., & Goldbeck, L. (2015). Psychophysiological characteristics of pediatric posttraumatic stress disorder during script-driven traumatic imagery. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6, 25471.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K. M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’—a tool for investigating psychobiological stress responses in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology, 28(1–2), 76–81.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Klumbies, E., Braeuer, D., Hoyer, J., & Kirschbaum, C. (2014). The reaction to social stress in social phobia: Discordance between physiological and subjective parameters. PLoS ONE, 9, e105670.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Kowalewski, M., Alifier, M., Bochen, D., & Urban, M. (2007). Heart rate turbulence in children—age and heart rate relationships. Pediatric Research, 62(6), 710–714. doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181598836.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Kushki, A., Brian, J., Dupuis, A., & Anagnostou, E. (2014). Functional autonomic nervous system profile in children with autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Autism, 5, 39. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-5-39.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Levine, T. P., Sheinkopf, S. J., Pescosolido, M., Rodino, A., Elia, G., & Lester, B. (2012). physiologic arousal to social stress in children with autism spectrum disorders: A pilot study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(1), 177–183. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2011.04.003.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Licht, C. M., de Geus, E. J., van Dyck, R., & Penninx, B. W. (2009). Association between anxiety disorders and heart rate variability in The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Psychosomatic Medicine, 71, 508–518.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Liew, J., Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., Eggum, N. D., Haugen, R. G., Kupfer, A., & Baham, M. E. (2011). Physiological regulation and fearfulness as predictors of young children’s empathy-related reactions. Social Development, 20(1), 111–113.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Lord, C., Petkova, E., Hus, V., Gan, W., Lu, F., Martin, D. M., & Risi, S. (2012). A multisite study of the clinical diagnosis of different autism spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69(3), 306–313. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.148.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Mason, J. W. (1968). A review of psychoendocrine research on the pituitary-adrenal cortical system. Psychosomatic Medicine, 30(5), 576–607.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Matson, J. L., & Nebel-Schwalm, M. S. (2007). Comorbid psychopathology with autism spectrum disorder in children: An overview. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 28(4), 341–352. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2005.12.004.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Mazzone, L., Ruta, L., & Reale, L. (2012). Psychiatric comorbidities in asperger syndrome and high functioning autism: Diagnostic challenges. Annals of General Psychiatry, 11(1), 16. doi:10.1186/1744-859X-11-16.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. McCormick, C. M., & Mathews, I. Z. (2010). Adolescent development, hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal function, and programming of adult learning and memory. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 34(5), 756–765. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2009.09.019.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. McLennan, J. D., Lord, C., & Schopler, E. (1993). Sex differences in higher functioning people with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 23(2), 217–227.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Merchan-Naranjo, J., Mayoral, M., Rapado-Castro, M., Llorente, C., Boada, L., Arango, C., & Parellada, M. (2011). Estimation of the intelligence quotient using Wechsler Intelligence Scales in children and adolescents with asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(1), 116–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Mikita, N., Hollocks, M. J., Papadopoulos, A. S., Aslani, A., Harrison, S., Leibenluft, E., & Stringaris, A. (2015). Irritability in boys with autism spectrum disorders: An investigation of physiological reactivity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(10), 1118–1126. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12382.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Miller, J. G., Chocol, C., Nuselovici, J. N., Utendale, W. T., Simard, M., & Hastings, P. D. (2013). Children’s dynamic RSA change during anger and its relations with parenting, temperament, and control of aggression. Biological Psychology, 92(2), 417–425.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Ming, X., Julu, P. O., Brimacombe, M., Connor, S., & Daniels, M. L. (2005). Reduced cardiac parasympathetic activity in children with autism. Brain and Development, 27(7), 509–516. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2005.01.003.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Minshew, N. J., Turner, C. A., & Goldstein, G. (2005). The application of short forms of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales in adults and children with high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(1), 45–52.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Moskowitz, L. J., Mulder, E., Walsh, C. E., McLaughlin, D. M., Zarcone, J. R., Proudfit, G. H., & Carr, E. G. (2013). A multimethod assessment of anxiety and problem behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 118(6), 419–434. doi:10.1352/1944.7558.118.6.419.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Muris, P., Steerneman, P., Merckelbach, H., Holdrinet, I., & Meesters, C. (1998). Comorbid anxiety symptoms in children with pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 12(4), 387–393.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Patriquin, M. A., Scarpa, A., Friedman, B. H., & Porges, S. W. (2013). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia: A marker for positive social functioning and receptive language skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. Developmental Psychobiology, 55(2), 101–112. doi:10.1002/dev.21002.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Pellecchia, M., Connell, J. E., Kerns, C. M., Xie, M., Marcus, S. C., & Mandell, D. S. (2015). Child characteristics associated with outcome for children with autism in a school-based behavioral intervention. Autism,. doi:10.1177/1362361315577518.

    PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  76. Petersen, A. C., Crockett, L., Richards, M., & Boxer, A. (1988). A self-report measure of pubertal status: Reliability, validity, and initial norms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 17(2), 117–133. doi:10.1007/BF01537962.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Pico-Alfonso, M. A., Mastorci, F., Ceresini, G., Ceda, G. P., Manghi, M., Pino, O., & Sgoifo, A. (2007). Acute psychosocial challenge and cardiac autonomic response in women: The role of estrogens, corticosteroids, and behavioral coping styles. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 32(5), 451–463. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2007.02.009.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Pitzalis, M. V., Massari, F., Mastropasqua, F., Fioretti, A., Guida, P., Colombo, R., & Rizzon, P. (2000). Age effect on phase relations between respiratory oscillations of the RR interval and systolic pressure. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 23(5), 847–853.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Porges, S. W. (1992). Vagal tone: A physiologic marker of stress vulnerability. Pediatrics, 90(3 Pt 2), 498–504.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  80. Porges, S. W. (1995). Orienting in a defensive world: Mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A polyvagal theory. Psychophysiology, 32(4), 301–318.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Porges, S. W. (2007). The polyvagal perspective. Biological Psychology, 74(2), 116–143.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Porges, S. W., & Furman, S. A. (2011). The early development of the autonomic nervous system provides a neural platform for social behavior: A polyvagal perspective. Infant and Child Development, 20(1), 106–118. doi:10.1002/icd.688.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Porges, S. W., Macellaio, M., Stanfill, S. D., McCue, K., Lewis, G. F., Harden, E. R., & Heilman, K. J. (2013). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia and auditory processing in autism: Modifiable deficits of an integrated social engagement system? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 88(3), 261–270.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Roisman, G. I., Masten, A. S., Coatsworth, J. D., & Tellegen, A. (2004). Salient and emerging developmental tasks in the transition to adulthood. Child Development, 75(1), 123–133.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Russell, G., Steer, C., & Golding, J. (2011). Social and demographic factors that influence the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 46(12), 1283–1293. doi:10.1007/s00127-010-0294-z.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Rutter, M. (2003). Categories, dimensions, and the mental health of children and adolescents. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1008, 11–21.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T. W., Leiby, B. E., & Sendecki, J. A. (2015). Autonomic dysregulation during sensory stimulation in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(2), 461–472. doi:10.1007/s10803-013-1924-6.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  88. Schroeder, J., Weiss, J., & Bebko, J. (2011). CBCL profiles of children and adolescents with asperger syndrome: A review and pilot study. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 17(1), 26–37.

    Google Scholar 

  89. Shahrestani, S., Stewart, E. M., Quintana, D. S., Hickie, I. B., & Guastella, A. J. (2015). Heart rate variability during adolescent and adult social interactions: A meta-analysis. Biological Psychology, 105, 43–50. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.12.012.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  90. Shenk, C. E., Putnam, F. W., Rausch, J. R., Peugh, J. L., & Noll, J. G. (2014). A longitudinal study of several potential mediators of the relationship between child maltreatment and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 81–91.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Sisk, C. L., & Foster, D. L. (2004). The neural basis of puberty and adolescence. Nature Neuroscience, 7(10), 1040–1047. doi:10.1038/nn1326.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Snieder, H., van Doornen, L. J., Boomsma, D. I., & Thayer, J. F. (2007). Sex differences and heritability of two indices of heart rate dynamics: A twin study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 10(2), 364–372. doi:10.1375/twin.10.2.364.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Sulik, M. J., Eisenberg, N., Silva, K. M., Spinrad, T. L., & Kupfer, A. (2013). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, shyness, and effortful control in preschool-age children. Biological Psychology, 92(2), 241–248. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.10.009.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  94. Tanaka, H., Borres, M., Thulesius, O., Tamai, H., Ericson, M. O., & Lindblad, L. E. (2000). Blood pressure and cardiovascular autonomic function in healthy children and adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics, 137(1), 63–67. doi:10.1067/mpd.2000.108098.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  95. Taylor, Z. E., Eisenberg, N., & Spinrad, T. L. (2015). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, effortful control, and parenting as predictors of children’s sympathy across early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 17–25. doi:10.1037/a0038189.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  96. Toichi, M., & Kamio, Y. (2003). Paradoxical autonomic response to mental tasks in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33, 417–426.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  97. van Steensel, F. J., Bögels, S. M., & Perrin, S. (2011). Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders: A meta-analysis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14(3), 302–317. doi:10.1007/s10567-011-0097-0.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  98. Vaughan Van Hecke, A., Lebow, J., Bal, E., Lamb, D., Harden, E., Kramer, A., & Porges, S. W. (2009). Electroencephalogram and heart rate regulation to familiar and unfamiliar people in children with autism spectrum disorders. Child Development, 80(4), 1118–1133. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01320.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  99. Watson, L. R., Roberts, J. E., Baranek, G. T., Mandulak, K. C., & Dalton, J. C. (2012). Behavioral and physiological responses to child-directed speech of children with autism spectrum disorders or typical development. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(8), 1616–1629. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1401-z.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  100. Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  101. Wilder, J. (1962). Basimetric approach (law of initial value) to biological rhythms. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 98(1), 1211–1220.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  102. Wilhelm, F. H., Kochar, A. S., Roth, W. T., & Gross, J. J. (2001). Social anxiety and response to touch: Incongruence between self-evaluative and physiological reactions. Biological Psychology, 58(3), 181–202.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  103. Witwer, A. N., & Lecavalier, L. (2007). Autism screening tools: an evaluation of the social communication questionnaire and the developmental behavior checklist–autism screening algorithm. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 32(3), 179–187.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  104. Woodall, K. L., & Matthews, K. A. (1993). Changes in and stability of hostile characteristics: Results from a 4-year longitudinal study of children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(3), 491–499.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the adolescents and their families who participated in this study. This manuscript was prepared from the first author’s doctoral dissertation.

Funding

This study was funded by NIMH R01 MH085717.

Author Contributions

EKE participated in the design of the study, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and drafting of the manuscript. RMJ participated in the analysis and interpretation of data and drafting of the manuscript. BAC conceived of the study, particpated in the collection and interpretation of the data, and drafting of the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Blythe A. Corbett.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

All 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.

Electronic Supplementary Material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 11 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Edmiston, E.K., Jones, R.M. & Corbett, B.A. Physiological Response to Social Evaluative Threat in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 46, 2992–3005 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2842-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Respiratory sinus arrhythmia
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Adolescence
  • Social evaluative threat
  • Psychophysiology