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09-02-2021 | Original Paper

Profiles of Autonomic Activity in Autism Spectrum Disorder with and without Anxiety

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Auteurs:
Valentina Parma, Nicola Cellini, Lisa Guy, Alana J. McVey, Keiran Rump, Julie Worley, Brenna B. Maddox, Jennifer Bush, Amanda Bennett, Martin Franklin, Judith S. Miller, John Herrington
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Supplementary Information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-020-04862-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Both anxiety and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are associated with atypical physiological activity. Few studies have systematically assessed the resting physiological activity in ASD with co-occurring anxiety disorders. We tested 75 participants divided in four groups: youth with ASD, with (ASD + Anxiety = 22, 6F, 12.29 ± 2.83 years old) and without co-occurring anxiety (ASD Alone = 15, 6F, 11.59 ± 2.85 years old) and compared their physiological profile with that of matched typically developing controls (TDC) with (Anxiety Alone = 16, 6F, 11.24 ± 3.36 years old) and without co-occurring anxiety disorders (TDC = 22, 8F, 11.88 ± 2.88 years old). Results indicated reduced sympathetic and parasympathetic activity at rest in ASD as compared to TDC youth. ASD + Anxiety and Anxiety Alone groups showed different sympathetic, but similar parasympathetic activity. These findings suggest that autonomic profile-based approaches may advance research, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD and anxiety.

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