Real-World Executive Functioning and Subclinical Autism Traits in Autism Parents, Other Disability Parents, and Non-Clinical Undergraduates

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Abstract

This study investigated mean differences in real-world executive functioning (real-world-EF) for those with and without the Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP), correlations between real-world-EF and BAP traits, and real-world-EF predictors of BAP traits. Also examined was a sub-sample of parents of children with autism (n = 42) vs. parents of children with other developmental disabilities (n = 36). The BAP group (n = 28) had higher scores, and more people with clinically significant scores (t-scores ≥ 65), than the Non-BAP group (n = 118) on all Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning-Adult (BRIEF-A) scales except Organization of Materials and Inhibition. When compared with parents of children with various non-autism developmental disabilities, parents of children with autism had similar means and proportions of people with clinically significant scores on all BRIEF-A scales. Inhibition, Shift, Working Memory, and Plan/Organize were correlated with Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) scores. Pragmatic Language demonstrated consistent higher correlations with the most real-world-EF scales. Regressions revealed Shift as a significant predictor for all BAPQ scores. Findings underscore the importance of individual BAP-trait evaluation, investigation of the practical significance of mean differences, the pervasiveness of Shift weaknesses in the BAP, and the possibility for interventions based on intact areas of functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology

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