Cristina A. Costescu*1, Bram Vanderborght2, Daniel O. David3,4
1Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
3Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
4Mount Sinai School Of Medicine, New York, USA
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with amplified emotional responses and poor emotional control. However, little is known about the differences between typically developing (TD) children and children with ASD regarding the underlying mechanisms of dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors.
We aimed to investigate whether if children with ASD will illustrate more irrational beliefs and therefore more dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors compared to TD children.
In order to test our hypothesis we have used a robot-based task since previous studies have shown that children with ASD could benefit of the presence of a social robot in the task. 81 participants were included in this study, 40 TD children (M =5.4, SD = 0.4) and 41 children with ASD (M =8.4, SD = 2.2). In order to measure our outcomes we have used a mood induction task: false feedback technique.
In children with ASD group we have identified significantly more irrational beliefs expressed during experimental task compared to TD children. 41.5% of children with ASD have presented dysfunctional emotions during the robot-assisted task compared to TD children who expressed only functional negative emotions. TD children exhibited significantly more adaptive behaviors compared with children with ASD, who 39% of them engaged in maladaptive behaviors.
This study provides important information on irrational beliefs and their association with dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive beliefs adopted by children with ASD in comparison to TD children. Our findings could be valuable for future interventions that address emotional distress in persons with ASD.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, robot-enhanced therapy, rational and irrational beliefs
Published online: 2016/09/01
Published print: 2016/09/01
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