Infant regulatory function acts as a protective factor for later traits of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not callous unemotional traits

Rachael Bedford, Teodora Gliga, Alexandra Hendry, Emily J.H. Jones, Greg Pasco, Tony Charman, Mark H. Johnson, Andrew Pickles, Simon Baron-Cohen, Patrick Bolton, Bosiljka Milosavljevic, Susie Chandler, Mayada Elsabbagh, Janice Fernandes, Holly Garwood, Kristelle Hudry, Elizabeth Shephard, Leslie Tucker, A. Volein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Reduced executive functions (EF) are commonly associated with developmental conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ASD; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD), although EF seems to be typical in children with callous unemotional (CU) traits. Regulatory function (RF) is a proposed infant precursor that maps on onto factors driving later EF. Here, we first test whether RF is specifically and negatively associated with ASD and ADHD traits, but not CU traits. Second, we test whether RF can act as a protective factor, by moderating the association between infant markers and subsequent ASD and ADHD traits. Methods: Participants were 79 infants at high (N = 42) and low (N = 37) familial risk for ASD. Data come from the 14-month infant visit (Autism Observational Scale for Infants; AOSI; activity level and RF from the Infant Behavior Questionnaire; IBQ) and the 7-year visit (ASD traits: Social Responsiveness Scale, SRS; ADHD traits: Conners 3, CU traits: Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits). Results: Infant RF was negatively associated with later traits of ASD (B =-0.5, p = 0.01) and ADHD inattention (B =-0.24, p = 0.02) but not hyperactivity (B =-0.25, p = 0.10) or CU traits (B = 0.02, p = 0.86). RF moderated the association between infant AOSI score and ASD traits, with a significant effect in those with low RF (B = 0.10, p = 0.006), not high RF (B = 0.01, p = 0.78). Similarly, for ADHD, infant activity level was associated with later ADHD inattention in those with low (B = 0.17, p = 0.04) but not high RF (B = 0.07, p = 0.48). For ADHD hyperactivity symptoms, activity level was predictive at both high and low levels of RF. Conclusions: Strong RF may allow children to compensate for other atypicalities, thus attenuating the association between infant markers and later disorder traits. Whilst infant RF was associated with both ASD and ADHD inattention traits, there was no association with ADHD hyperactivity or CU traits. This suggests that any protective effect may not be universal and emphasises the need for a better understanding of the underlying moderating mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 18 2019

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Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Executive Function
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Protective Factors
Infant Behavior
Autistic Disorder
Equipment and Supplies

Keywords

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Callous unemotional traits
  • Executive function
  • Infants at risk
  • Regulatory function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

Infant regulatory function acts as a protective factor for later traits of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not callous unemotional traits. / Bedford, Rachael; Gliga, Teodora; Hendry, Alexandra; Jones, Emily J.H.; Pasco, Greg; Charman, Tony; Johnson, Mark H.; Pickles, Andrew; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Bolton, Patrick; Milosavljevic, Bosiljka; Chandler, Susie; Elsabbagh, Mayada; Fernandes, Janice; Garwood, Holly; Hudry, Kristelle; Shephard, Elizabeth; Tucker, Leslie; Volein, A.

In: Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Vol. 11, No. 1, 14, 18.07.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bedford, R, Gliga, T, Hendry, A, Jones, EJH, Pasco, G, Charman, T, Johnson, MH, Pickles, A, Baron-Cohen, S, Bolton, P, Milosavljevic, B, Chandler, S, Elsabbagh, M, Fernandes, J, Garwood, H, Hudry, K, Shephard, E, Tucker, L & Volein, A 2019, 'Infant regulatory function acts as a protective factor for later traits of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not callous unemotional traits', Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, vol. 11, no. 1, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s11689-019-9274-0
Bedford, Rachael ; Gliga, Teodora ; Hendry, Alexandra ; Jones, Emily J.H. ; Pasco, Greg ; Charman, Tony ; Johnson, Mark H. ; Pickles, Andrew ; Baron-Cohen, Simon ; Bolton, Patrick ; Milosavljevic, Bosiljka ; Chandler, Susie ; Elsabbagh, Mayada ; Fernandes, Janice ; Garwood, Holly ; Hudry, Kristelle ; Shephard, Elizabeth ; Tucker, Leslie ; Volein, A. / Infant regulatory function acts as a protective factor for later traits of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not callous unemotional traits. In: Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 2019 ; Vol. 11, No. 1.
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abstract = "Background: Reduced executive functions (EF) are commonly associated with developmental conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ASD; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD), although EF seems to be typical in children with callous unemotional (CU) traits. Regulatory function (RF) is a proposed infant precursor that maps on onto factors driving later EF. Here, we first test whether RF is specifically and negatively associated with ASD and ADHD traits, but not CU traits. Second, we test whether RF can act as a protective factor, by moderating the association between infant markers and subsequent ASD and ADHD traits. Methods: Participants were 79 infants at high (N = 42) and low (N = 37) familial risk for ASD. Data come from the 14-month infant visit (Autism Observational Scale for Infants; AOSI; activity level and RF from the Infant Behavior Questionnaire; IBQ) and the 7-year visit (ASD traits: Social Responsiveness Scale, SRS; ADHD traits: Conners 3, CU traits: Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits). Results: Infant RF was negatively associated with later traits of ASD (B =-0.5, p = 0.01) and ADHD inattention (B =-0.24, p = 0.02) but not hyperactivity (B =-0.25, p = 0.10) or CU traits (B = 0.02, p = 0.86). RF moderated the association between infant AOSI score and ASD traits, with a significant effect in those with low RF (B = 0.10, p = 0.006), not high RF (B = 0.01, p = 0.78). Similarly, for ADHD, infant activity level was associated with later ADHD inattention in those with low (B = 0.17, p = 0.04) but not high RF (B = 0.07, p = 0.48). For ADHD hyperactivity symptoms, activity level was predictive at both high and low levels of RF. Conclusions: Strong RF may allow children to compensate for other atypicalities, thus attenuating the association between infant markers and later disorder traits. Whilst infant RF was associated with both ASD and ADHD inattention traits, there was no association with ADHD hyperactivity or CU traits. This suggests that any protective effect may not be universal and emphasises the need for a better understanding of the underlying moderating mechanisms.",
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T1 - Infant regulatory function acts as a protective factor for later traits of autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not callous unemotional traits

AU - Bedford, Rachael

AU - Gliga, Teodora

AU - Hendry, Alexandra

AU - Jones, Emily J.H.

AU - Pasco, Greg

AU - Charman, Tony

AU - Johnson, Mark H.

AU - Pickles, Andrew

AU - Baron-Cohen, Simon

AU - Bolton, Patrick

AU - Milosavljevic, Bosiljka

AU - Chandler, Susie

AU - Elsabbagh, Mayada

AU - Fernandes, Janice

AU - Garwood, Holly

AU - Hudry, Kristelle

AU - Shephard, Elizabeth

AU - Tucker, Leslie

AU - Volein, A.

PY - 2019/7/18

Y1 - 2019/7/18

N2 - Background: Reduced executive functions (EF) are commonly associated with developmental conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ASD; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD), although EF seems to be typical in children with callous unemotional (CU) traits. Regulatory function (RF) is a proposed infant precursor that maps on onto factors driving later EF. Here, we first test whether RF is specifically and negatively associated with ASD and ADHD traits, but not CU traits. Second, we test whether RF can act as a protective factor, by moderating the association between infant markers and subsequent ASD and ADHD traits. Methods: Participants were 79 infants at high (N = 42) and low (N = 37) familial risk for ASD. Data come from the 14-month infant visit (Autism Observational Scale for Infants; AOSI; activity level and RF from the Infant Behavior Questionnaire; IBQ) and the 7-year visit (ASD traits: Social Responsiveness Scale, SRS; ADHD traits: Conners 3, CU traits: Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits). Results: Infant RF was negatively associated with later traits of ASD (B =-0.5, p = 0.01) and ADHD inattention (B =-0.24, p = 0.02) but not hyperactivity (B =-0.25, p = 0.10) or CU traits (B = 0.02, p = 0.86). RF moderated the association between infant AOSI score and ASD traits, with a significant effect in those with low RF (B = 0.10, p = 0.006), not high RF (B = 0.01, p = 0.78). Similarly, for ADHD, infant activity level was associated with later ADHD inattention in those with low (B = 0.17, p = 0.04) but not high RF (B = 0.07, p = 0.48). For ADHD hyperactivity symptoms, activity level was predictive at both high and low levels of RF. Conclusions: Strong RF may allow children to compensate for other atypicalities, thus attenuating the association between infant markers and later disorder traits. Whilst infant RF was associated with both ASD and ADHD inattention traits, there was no association with ADHD hyperactivity or CU traits. This suggests that any protective effect may not be universal and emphasises the need for a better understanding of the underlying moderating mechanisms.

AB - Background: Reduced executive functions (EF) are commonly associated with developmental conditions (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ASD; attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD), although EF seems to be typical in children with callous unemotional (CU) traits. Regulatory function (RF) is a proposed infant precursor that maps on onto factors driving later EF. Here, we first test whether RF is specifically and negatively associated with ASD and ADHD traits, but not CU traits. Second, we test whether RF can act as a protective factor, by moderating the association between infant markers and subsequent ASD and ADHD traits. Methods: Participants were 79 infants at high (N = 42) and low (N = 37) familial risk for ASD. Data come from the 14-month infant visit (Autism Observational Scale for Infants; AOSI; activity level and RF from the Infant Behavior Questionnaire; IBQ) and the 7-year visit (ASD traits: Social Responsiveness Scale, SRS; ADHD traits: Conners 3, CU traits: Inventory of Callous Unemotional Traits). Results: Infant RF was negatively associated with later traits of ASD (B =-0.5, p = 0.01) and ADHD inattention (B =-0.24, p = 0.02) but not hyperactivity (B =-0.25, p = 0.10) or CU traits (B = 0.02, p = 0.86). RF moderated the association between infant AOSI score and ASD traits, with a significant effect in those with low RF (B = 0.10, p = 0.006), not high RF (B = 0.01, p = 0.78). Similarly, for ADHD, infant activity level was associated with later ADHD inattention in those with low (B = 0.17, p = 0.04) but not high RF (B = 0.07, p = 0.48). For ADHD hyperactivity symptoms, activity level was predictive at both high and low levels of RF. Conclusions: Strong RF may allow children to compensate for other atypicalities, thus attenuating the association between infant markers and later disorder traits. Whilst infant RF was associated with both ASD and ADHD inattention traits, there was no association with ADHD hyperactivity or CU traits. This suggests that any protective effect may not be universal and emphasises the need for a better understanding of the underlying moderating mechanisms.

KW - Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

KW - Autism spectrum disorder

KW - Callous unemotional traits

KW - Executive function

KW - Infants at risk

KW - Regulatory function

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U2 - 10.1186/s11689-019-9274-0

DO - 10.1186/s11689-019-9274-0

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