La Trobe
823082_Korbut,S_2020.pdf (831.78 kB)

Temperament predicts challenging behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder at age 5

Download (831.78 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2020-10-28, 06:24 authored by Siobhan Korbut, Darren Hedley, Lacey Chetcuti, Ensu Sahin, Heather J Nuske
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Background: Challenging behaviors during early childhood have a significant impact on cognitive and social development. The present study aimed to identify the developmental predictors of these behaviors in preschool aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at 2-year follow-up. We examined temperament, which has been identified as key to emotion regulation in typical development, as well as developmental level and ASD symptom severity, as potential predictors of parent-reported challenging behavior. Method: Forty-three parents of preschool aged children with ASD from a previous study were invited to participate. Data from 26 children with ASD aged 4–6 years (M = 5, SD = .60) were available for follow-up analyses. Developmental level, ASD symptom severity, and temperamental difficulty at baseline were considered as potential predictors of frequency and severity of challenging behavior at follow-up. Results: Baseline negative affectivity was uniquely predictive of frequency of challenging behavior at follow-up. Although no individual variable was identified as a unique predictor of variance, the combined effects of temperament were predictive of the severity of challenging behavior at follow-up, contributing to 46 % of variance in scores. Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential impact of emotion-regulation related aspects of temperament on later emerging challenging behavior in young children with ASD, suggesting opportunities for early intervention. Results also identified a role for developmental level in the severity of challenging behavior, but suggest that the effect may be metered by temperament.


This research was supported by the Pierce Armstrong Foundation. The funding source had no involvement in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Pierce Armstrong Foundation


Publication Date



Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders



Article Number








Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.