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Dev Psychobiol. 2014 Apr;56(3):317-26. doi: 10.1002/dev.21100. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Developmental trajectories of respiratory sinus arrhythmia: associations with social responsiveness.

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Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061.


The present longitudinal study examined relations between respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) development and social responsiveness characteristics associated with autism spectrum disorders. Group-based developmental trajectory modeling was used to characterize RSA development patterns in 106 typically developing children across 5, 10, 24, 36, and 48 months of age. A two-group model fit of RSA development was found: a "typically" and "atypically" developing group. The typical group gradually increased in RSA across 5-48 months of age. The atypical group, however, increased in RSA from 5 to 24 months and demonstrated a plateau or "delay" in RSA development from 24 to 48 months. The atypical RSA development group also demonstrated more difficulties in parent-reported social responsiveness at 48 months. The results support current literature that identifies RSA as a marker of social functioning level.


autism; childhood; developmental trajectory; longitudinal; respiratory sinus arrhythmia; social

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