Characterizing subdomains of insistence on sameness in autistic youth. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research Spackman, E., Smillie, L. D., Frazier, T. W., Hardan, A. Y., Uljarevic, M. 2023


Insistence on sameness (IS) encompasses a range of behavioral patterns, including resistance to change, routines, and ritualized behaviors, that can be present across social and non-social contexts. Given the breadth of behaviors encompassed by IS, it is important to determine whether this domain is best conceptualized and measured as uni- or a multi-dimensional construct. Therefore, the current study aimed to characterize the structure of IS and explore potentially distinct of patterns of associations between identified IS factors and relevant correlates, including age, sex, IQ, anxiety, social abilities, emotional and behavioral dysregulation, and sensory hypersensitivity. Exploratory graph analysis was conducted using the dimensional assessment of restricted and repetitive behaviors to examine the structure of IS in a sample 1892 autistic youth (Mage =10.82, SDage =4.14; range: 3-18years; 420 females) recruited from the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge cohort. Three distinct IS subdomains labeled as IS-Ritualistic/sameness, IS-Routines, and IS-Others (referring to IS behaviors during interactions with others)were identified. Generalized additive models demonstrated that each of the IS subdomains showed a unique pattern of association with key variables. More specifically, while sensory hypersensitivity was significantly associated with IS-Ritualistic/sameness and IS-Routines, it was not associated with IS-Others. Further, while emotional dysregulation was a unique predictor of IS-Ritualistic/sameness (but not IS-Routines or IS-Others), social interaction abilities were a unique predictor of IS-Routines (but not IS-Ritualistic/sameness or IS-Others). Current findings provide preliminary evidence that the IS may encompass several distinct subdomains.

View details for DOI 10.1002/aur.3033

View details for PubMedID 37735979