Inhibitory control in male and female adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Metadata[+] Show full item record
[EMBARGOED UNTIL 6/1/2023] Recent research suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience particular difficulty resisting interference from visual distractors (RIVD) relative to other aspects of inhibitory control (e.g., prepotent response inhibition and resistance to proactive interference). The literature further suggests that the ASD-related disruptions in inhibitory control may be age-related, such that RIVD difficulty may be more pronounced in young verses older adolescents. Much less is known, however, regarding potential sex-related differences in the inhibitory profile (i.e., strengths and weaknesses) in individuals with ASD. The present study was designed to further examine potential age- and sex-related differences in inhibitory ability in individuals with and without ASD. A sample of 44 adolescents (25 males, 19 females) with ASD and 45 adolescents without ASD (22 males, 23 females) participated. Participants completed a computerized flanker visual filtering task and a go/no-go task, which assessed RIVD and prepotent response inhibition, respectively. No significant effect of group (ASD, non-ASD) was observed for the flanker task (F(1,65) [less than] 1, p = .34, [eta]p2= .014) or the go/no-go task (F(1,69) [less than] 1, p = .90, [eta]p2 [less than] .001). There were also no significant interactions between sex and group for either task (F [less than] 1, p [greater than] 0.43, [eta]p2 [less than] 0.01, in both instances). However, a significant relationship between flanker performance and age was observed for the ASD group, with the older children showing smaller flanker effects (i.e., better inhibitory ability) as compared to the younger children (t(25) = 3.24, p = .003, pr2 = 0.30). Consistent with previous research (e.g., Christ et al., 2011), there was no evidence of ASD-related impairment in prepotent response inhibition as measured by the go/no-go task. Also consistent with past findings (e.g., Boland et al., 2019), age-related differences in RIVD ability were evident for the ASD group. Notably, we found no evidence of sex-related differences in the inhibitory profile of individuals with ASD.