Arriving at the empirically based conceptualization of restricted and repetitive behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analytic examination of factor analyses. Clinical psychology review Uljarevic, M., Spackman, E. K., Whitehouse, A. J., Frazier, T. W., Billingham, W., Condron, P., Hardan, A., Leekam, S. R. 2023; 103: 102286


An empirically based understanding of the factor structure of the restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRB) domain is a prerequisite for interpreting studies attempting to understand the correlates and mechanisms underpinning RRB and for measurement development. Therefore, this study aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of RRB factor analytic studies. Sets of meta-analyses were performed to examine (a) the factor structure of individual RRB instruments, (b) associations between RRB subdomains across instruments, and (c) the association between RRB factors and other variables. Searches for peer-reviewed articles evaluating the factor structure of the RRB domain were performed in PsycINFO (Ovid), Medline (Ovid), and Embase (Ovid). No age, measurement, or informant-type limits were imposed. Quality and risk of bias for individual studies were assessed using relevant COSMIN sections. Among the 53 studies retained for review, 41 examined RRB factor structures among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 12 among non-ASD samples. Meta-analysis of factor correlations provided evidence that the RRB domain encompasses the following eight specific factors: repetitive motor behaviors, insistence on sameness, restricted interests, unusual interests, sensory sensitivity, and repetitive, stereotyped language. Although interrelated, RRB factors were distinct, showing a unique pattern of associations with demographic, cognitive, and clinical correlates. Meta-analyses of the associations between RRB factors and specific correlates, specifically adaptive functioning and communication impairments, should be considered preliminary due to the limited number of studies. Despite limitations, this review provides important insights into the factor structure of the RRB domain and highlights critical conceptual, measurement, and methodological limitations of the current research that will need to be addressed in order to improve our understanding of RRB.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cpr.2023.102286

View details for PubMedID 37269778