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Piloting a Battery to Evaluate Parasympathetic Reactivity and Externalizing Behaviors during Early Childhood in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • +2
  • Yael Braverman,
  • Madison Surmacz,
  • Gina Schnur,
  • Nasim Sheikhi,
  • Susan Faja
Yael Braverman
Boston Children's Hospital
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Madison Surmacz
Boston Children's Hospital
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Gina Schnur
Boston Children's Hospital
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Nasim Sheikhi
Northeastern University - Boston Campus
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Susan Faja
Boston Children's Hospital

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Background Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Reactivity (RSA-R) correlates both positively and negatively with externalizing behavior in autistic individuals. These inconsistencies may result from task-based differences. Furthermore, RSA-R is understudied in young autistic children, despite particular challenges with externalizing behavior. This pilot study measured RSA-R in 4-to 6-year-olds, across two time-points, using four validated tasks with matched baseline and challenge periods. Methods RSA and parent-reported externalizing behavior were collected from 17 children (Mage=5.57 years). RSA-R was measured by the difference score of the challenge task minus its corresponding comparison task. Correlations were computed to evaluate relationships between RSA-R and behavior. Results RSA was reliably measured for 3/4 tasks (.694 ≤ ICCs ≤ .896). Only RSA-R during a social task correlated with externalizing behavior. These results support using a battery that measures a range of challenges, differing in social demands, to characterize how arousal contributes to emotion regulation demands among young autistic children.
23 Aug 2023Submitted to Infant and Child Development: prenatal, childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood
23 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
23 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
28 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
13 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending