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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 430–441 | Cite as

Contribution of Theory of Mind, Executive Functioning, and Pragmatics to Socialization Behaviors of Children with High-Functioning Autism

  • Carmen Berenguer
  • Ana Miranda
  • Carla Colomer
  • Inmaculada Baixauli
  • Belén Roselló
Original Paper

Abstract

Social difficulties are a key aspect of autism, but the intervening factors are still poorly understood. This study had two objectives: to compare the profile of ToM skills, executive functioning (EF), and pragmatic competence (PC) of children with high-functioning autism (HFA) and children with typical development (TD), and analyze their mediator role in social functioning. The participants were 52 children with HFA and 37 children with TD matched on age, intelligence quotient, and expressive vocabulary. Significant differences were found on measures of ToM, both explicit and applied, EF, and PC between children with HFA and TD. Multiple mediation analysis revealed that applied ToM skills and PC mediated the relations between autism symptoms and social functioning. Implications for social cognitive interventions to address these findings are discussed.

Keywords

High functioning autism Theory of mind Pragmatic competence Executive functioning Social domain 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the Spanish project PSI2016-78109 (AEI/FEDER, UE) and the predoctoral fellowship University of Valencia UV-INV-PREDOC15-265889.

Author Contributions

CB conceived the study, participated in its design, and coordination, interpretation of results and drafted the manuscript; AM conceived the study, participated in the design, coordination of the study, interpretation of the data and manuscript revisions; CC participated in the design and coordination of the study, and data collection; IB participated in the coordination of the study and data collection; BR participated in data analysis and interpretation of results. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Valencia (Declaration of Helsinki in the European Council Agreement, 1964).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Berenguer
    • 1
  • Ana Miranda
    • 1
  • Carla Colomer
    • 2
  • Inmaculada Baixauli
    • 3
  • Belén Roselló
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyFaculty of Psychology - University of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Education, Didactics and School OrganizationJaume I UniversityCastellón de la PlanaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Occupational Sciences, Speech Therapy, Evolutionary and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Teaching and Education SciencesCatholic University of Valencia “San Vicente Mártir”ValenciaSpain

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