This study tested the spectrum hypothesis, which posits that children and adolescents with high functioning autism (HFA) differ quantitatively but not qualitatively from typically developing peers on self-reported temperament. Temperament refers to early-appearing, relatively stable behavioral and emotional tendencies, which relate to maladaptive behaviors across clinical populations. Quantitatively, participants with HFA (N = 104, aged 10–16) self-reported less surgency and more negative affect but did not differ from comparison participants (N = 94, aged 10–16) on effortful control or affiliation. Qualitatively, groups demonstrated comparable reliability of self-reported temperament and associations between temperament and parent-reported behavior problems. These findings support the spectrum hypothesis, highlighting the utility of self-report temperament measures for understanding individual differences in comorbid behavior problems among children and adolescents with HFA.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Grant R01 MH71273 (Motivation, Self-Monitoring, & Family Process in Autism; PIs Henderson & Mundy); the University of Miami: General Research Support Award (PI Henderson) & Provost Research Award (PI Henderson); and the Marino Autism Research Institute.
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- High-functioning autism
- Spectrum hypothesis