Journal article

The effect of sleep-wake routines on the negative emotional states and aggressive behaviors in adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) during the COVID-19 outbreak

  • Levante, Annalisa ORCID Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy - Laboratory of Applied Psychology, Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
  • Petrocchi, Serena ORCID Laboratory of Applied Psychology, Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy - Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
  • Colombi, Costanza ORCID IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa, Italy
  • Keller, Roberto ORCID Adult Autism Center, Mental Health Department, Local Health Unit ASL Città di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • Narzisi, Antonio ORCID IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa, Italy
  • Masi, Gabriele ORCID IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa, Italy
  • Lecciso, Flavia ORCID Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy - Laboratory of Applied Psychology, Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
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  • 2022
Published in:
  • International journal on environmental research and public health. - 2022, vol. 19, no. 9, p. 4957
English Disruption in routine may be related to experiencing negative emotional states and to aggressive behaviors in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The lockdown because of COVID-19 contributed to the disruption of individuals’ routines, including the sleep–wake cycle. The current study tested a relationship between the adherence to the sleep–wake routine and aggressive behaviors via the mediation role of negative emotional states (i.e., anxiety and anger). Forty-three parents of adults with ASD completed a web-based questionnaire about their life condition during the first lockdown (April–May 2020). Preliminary analyses showed a worsening in the adults’ aggressive behaviors during the lockdown in comparison to before it (Z = −3.130; p = 0.002). In the mediation models, the relationship between the adherence to the sleep–wake routines and aggressive behaviors was significant. The models showed the hypothesized mediated relationships among the adherence to the sleep–wake routines, negative emotional states, and aggressive behaviors (Model 1: F (1, 41) = 10.478, p < 0.001; Model 2: F(1, 41) = 9.826, p = 0.003). The findings confirmed the potential protective role of the adherence to the sleep–wake routines for the emotional and behavioral adjustment of adults with autism. Theoretical and practical contributions of the study were discussed; indeed, our results may inform parent-coaching as well as intervention programs for individuals with ASD given that adequate sleep hygiene may contribute to improvements in internalizing/externalizing behaviors.
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Language
  • English
Classification
Medicine
License
CC BY
Open access status
gold
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://susi.usi.ch/usi/documents/323007
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