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The Role of Negative Affectivity in Concurrent Relations Between Caregiver Psychological Distress and Social‐Emotional Difficulties in Infants With Early Signs of Autism

journal contribution
posted on 22.10.2020, 01:05 by Lacey Chetcuti, Mirko Uljarevic, Kandice J Varcin, Maryam Boutrus, Ming Wai Wan, Vicky Slonims, Jonathan Green, Leonie Segal, Teresa Iacono, Cheryl Dissanayake, Andrew J.O. Whitehouse, Kristelle Hudry, The AICES team
Recent evidence suggests the link between caregiver psychological distress and offspring social‐emotional difficulties may be accounted for by offspring temperament characteristics. However, existing studies have only focused on neurotypical children; thus, the current study sought to provide an initial examination of this process among children with varying levels of early autism features. Participants included 103 infants aged 9–16 months (M = 12.39, SD = 1.97; 68% male) and their primary caregiver (96% mothers) referred to a larger study by community healthcare professionals. We utilized caregiver‐reported measures of psychological distress (Depression Anxiety Stress Scales), infant temperament (Infant Behavior Questionnaire‐Revised) and internalizing and externalizing symptoms (Infant‐Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment) and administered the Autism Observation Schedule for Infants (AOSI) at an assessment visit to quantify autism features. Infant negative affectivity was found to mediate positive concurrent relations between caregiver psychological distress and infant internalizing and externalizing symptoms, irrespective of the infants' AOSI score. While preliminary and cross‐sectional, these results replicate and extend previous findings suggesting that the pathway from caregiver psychological distress to negative affectivity to social‐emotional difficulties might also be apparent among infants with varying levels of autism features. More rigorous tests of causal effects await future longitudinal investigation.

Funding

Angela Wright Bennett Foundation

Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism

La Trobe University

Western Australia Children's Research Fund

History

School

  • School of Psychology and Public Health

Publication Date

01/08/2020

Journal

Autism Research

Volume

13

Issue

8

Publisher

Wiley

ISSN

1939-3792

Rights Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: "Chetcuti, L., Uljarević, M., Varcin, K.J., Boutrus, M., Wan, M.W., Slonims, V., Green, J., Segal, L., Iacono, T., Dissanayake, C., Whitehouse, A.J., Hudry, K. and (2020), The Role of Negative Affectivity in Concurrent Relations Between Caregiver Psychological Distress and Social‐Emotional Difficulties in Infants With Early Signs of Autism. Autism Research, 13: 1349-1357" which has been published in final form at doi:10.1002/aur.2296. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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