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16-11-2020 | Original Paper Open Access

The Role of Decision-Making in Psychological Wellbeing and Risky Behaviours in Autistic Adolescents Without ADHD: Longitudinal Evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Mariko Hosozawa, William Mandy, Noriko Cable, Eirini Flouri
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-020-04783-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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This study examined the development of decision-making and its association with psychological wellbeing and risky behaviours in adolescents with and without autism. Participants included 270 autistic and 9,713 typically developing adolescents. In both samples, those with a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were excluded. Data came from the Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative population-based birth cohort. Decision-making was assessed using the Cambridge Gambling Task at ages 11 and 14. Psychological wellbeing (happiness, self-esteem, depressive symptoms and self-harm) and risky/antisocial behaviours were self-reported at age 14. After adjusting for sex, cognitive ability, spatial working memory, socioeconomic status and pubertal status, autistic adolescents showed comparable quality of decision-making to that of their peers at both ages but also a more deliberative decision-making style as they aged. Only in autistic adolescents was this decision-making style associated with positive outcomes.

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