Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Marianne Barton, Jeffrey Burke, Kimberly Cuevas

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Objective: Temperament may be an important early behavioral risk marker for ASD. The current study aimed to investigate temperamental differences and stability of temperament in high-risk baby siblings with and without ASD in toddlerhood and preschool-age; understand the additional benefit of measuring temperament in predicting ASD, beyond measures of ASD symptomology and severity; and understand gender differences in the relationship between temperament and ASD. Methods: High-risk baby siblings of children with ASD were evaluated at approximate ages 2 and 4. Multiple regression was used to assess the relationship between diagnostic group (ASD, non-ASD), temperament at both time points, and gender. Logistic regression was used to predict diagnostic group membership from temperament, accounting for scores on a measure of ASD symptomology and severity. Results: Differences between baby siblings with and without ASD were demonstrated on several temperament domains. Poor approach and higher negative mood increased likelihood of ASD diagnostic group membership at age 2, after accounting for ASD symptomology and severity. Most temperament domains were stable from ages 2 and 4, potentially more so for the ASD group. Several gender-specific differences in temperament between the ASD and non-ASD groups were found. Conclusions: Temperament may be an early behavioral marker of ASD in high-risk baby siblings, and may provide additional benefit for predicting risk for ASD beyond symptom severity. Gender differences in the relationship between ASD and temperament may provide important clues to how behavioral patterns interact with emergence of ASD symptoms differently, or are perceived differently by caregivers, for boys and girls.

Major Advisor

Marianne Barton