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Title: Emotion regulation and executive function in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Pathological Demand Avoidance traits
Author: Goodson, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 8407
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Aims: Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is an increasingly used label that describes a subset of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who display extreme behaviours in response to everyday demands. To date, little is known about the cognitive profiles associated with these behaviours. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential role of parent-reported Executive Function (EF) in PDA traits in the context of ASD, with a particular focus on emotion dysregulation and non-compliance behaviour. Methods: Sixty-four parents of children with ASD and 31 parents of children without ASD, aged between 6-11 years old, were recruited to complete questionnaires at a single time point. Questionnaires assessed ASD traits, PDA traits, EF, non-compliance behaviours, and emotion dysregulation. Results: Group differences in parent-reported EF were found, with children with ASD showing greater deficits than children without ASD. EF was significantly related to global PDA traits in the context of ASD, as well as to dimensional measures of specific associated behaviours such as emotional dysregulation and behavioural non-compliance. Executive Function accounted for a significant proportion of the variance (r2 = 34%) in PDA traits. Indices of EF were found to differentially predict non-compliance behaviours and ASD traits confounded some of these relationships. Conclusion: These findings suggest that a range of EF deficits may contribute to PDA behaviours in children with ASD. Evidence for differential involvement of EF in PDA traits suggests that further exploration using more direct measures of EF is warranted to gain a clearer understanding of this relationship, which could benefit interventions and behavioural strategy development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available