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Parents’ impaired emotion recognition abilities are related to children’s autistic symptoms in autism spectrum disorder

Authors Hu X, Yin L, Situ M, Guo K, Yang P, Zhang M, Huang Y

Received 17 May 2018

Accepted for publication 25 September 2018

Published 5 November 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2973—2980


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning

Xiao Hu,1–3,* Li Yin,1–3,* Mingjing Situ,1–3 Kuifang Guo,1–3 Pingyuan Yang,1–3 Manxue Zhang,1–3 Yi Huang1–3

1Department of Psychiatry, Mental Health Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China; 2Psychiatric Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China; 3Brain Research Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: We aimed to explore whether parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) had impaired emotion recognition abilities and whether this deficit was related to their children’s autistic symptoms.
Methods: The autistic symptoms of 31 ASD children were assessed using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). Fifty parents of ASD children and 34 parents of typically developing (TD) children completed an emotion recognition task (ERT).
Results: The numbers of correct ERT responses were lower for parents of ASD children than for parents of TD children with respect to recognizing sadness, disgust, fear, and all emotions (P=0.01, 0.04, 0.02, and 0.00, respectively). Controlled for parental age, gender, and the intelligence quotients of both the parents and children, a negative correlation was found between the total number of correct ERT responses for parents of ASD children and these children’s “restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” scores on the ADI-R (r=−0.32; P=0.03).
Conclusion: Parents of ASD children showed impaired emotion recognition abilities compared with parents of TD children. This parental deficit in emotion recognition ability was related to the autistic symptoms of ASD children.

autism spectrum disorder, parents, emotion recognition

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