Alexithymia and Autistic Traits as Contributing Factors to Empathy Difficulties in Preadolescent Children.
Speyer, Lydia Gabriela
Murray, Aja Louise
J Autism Dev Disord
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Speyer, L. G., Brown, R. H., Camus, L., Murray, A. L., & Auyeung, B. (2022). Alexithymia and Autistic Traits as Contributing Factors to Empathy Difficulties in Preadolescent Children.. J Autism Dev Disord, 52 (2), 823-834. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04986-x
Recent evidence suggests that, contrary to traditional views, empathy difficulties may not be a core feature of autism; but are rather due to co-occurring alexithymia. Empathy, alexithymia and autistic traits have yet to be examined concurrently in children. Therefore, we examined the co-occurrence of empathy difficulties and alexithymia in 59 typically developing and 5 autistic children. Multiple measures (self-report, parent-report and a behavioural task) were used to evaluate empathy and to assess differences in self- and parent-reports using multiple regressions. Alexithymia was found to predict empathy significantly better than autistic traits, providing support for the alexithymia hypothesis. From a therapeutic perspective, results suggest autistic children who screen positive for elevated alexithymic traits may benefit from additional support targeting emotion identification.
Original Paper, Empathy, Alexithymia, Autistic Traits, Children, Multi-Informant Approach
Marie Skłodowska-Curie (813546)
Baily Thomas Charitable Fund (TRUST/VC/AC/SG/469207686)
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/N018877/1)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04986-x
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/333597