Big Data Approach to Characterize Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors in Autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Uljarevic, M., Frazier, T. W., Jo, B., Billingham, W. D., Cooper, M. N., Youngstrom, E. A., Scahill, L., Hardan, A. Y. 2021


OBJECTIVE: Despite being a core diagnostic feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental and clinical correlates of restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests (RRB) remain poorly characterized. This study aimed to utilize the largest available RRB data set to date to provide a comprehensive characterization of how distinct RRB domains vary according to a range of individual characteristics.METHOD: Data were obtained from 17,581 children and adolescents with ASD (Mage= 8.24 years, SDage= 4.06) from the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge cohort. Caregivers completed the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised questionnaire as a measure of repetitive motor behaviors, self-injurious behaviors, compulsions, insistence on sameness and circumscribed interests RRB domains. Caregivers also provided information on children's cognitive functioning, language ability and social and communication impairments.RESULTS: Male sex was associated with higher severity of repetitive motor behaviors and restricted interests and lower severity of compulsions and self-injurious behaviors; no sex differences were found for insistence on sameness domain. While repetitive motor behaviors showed a mostly linear (negative) association with age, other RRB domains showed more complex and non-linear associations. Higher severity of social and communication impairments provided significant independent contribution in predicting higher severity of all RRB domains at the p< .001, however, these effects were small (d< .25). The strongest of these effects was observed for Ritualistic/Sameness (d=.24), followed by Stereotypy (d=.21), Compulsions (d=.17), Restricted Interests (d=.14) and SIB (d=.12).CONCLUSION: Findings reported here provide further evidence that RRB subdomains show a somewhat distinct pattern of associations with demographic, developmental and clinical variables with a key implication that separate consideration of these domains can help to facilitate efforts to understand diverse ASD etiology and inform the design of future interventions.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.08.006

View details for PubMedID 34391858