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Executive Function: Cognition and Behaviour in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Kate Johnston, Kim Murray, Debbie Spain, Ian Walker, Ailsa Russell

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4181-4192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume49
Issue number10
Early online date8 Jul 2019
DOIs
E-pub ahead of print8 Jul 2019
Published1 Oct 2019

King's Authors

Abstract

Studies of executive function (EF) in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reported mixed findings. Possible confounds include EF domain assessed and co-occurring neurodevelopmental diagnoses. EF task performance across multiple domains and everyday function of autistic adults (n = 110) was significantly different to age- and IQ-matched controls (n = 31). Although significantly more likely to fall into the clinically impaired range, 35.8% of the ASD group showed no impairment on EF measures. Factor analysis revealed a single unifying EF construct rather than a selective pattern of impairment. Dysexecutive behaviours were frequently reported in the ASD group, unrelated to Autism symptoms, EF task performance or co-occurring conditions. This study suggests autistic adults can experience clinically significant executive function difficulties and co-occuring dysexecutive behaviours that are disabling in everyday life.

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