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Protective factors for children with autism spectrum disorder during COVID-19-related strict lockdowns: a Shanghai autism early developmental cohort study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2023

Lingli Zhang
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Tai Ren
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Hua He
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Like Huang
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Runqi Huang
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Yixiang Xu
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Li Zhou
Affiliation:
Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
Hangyu Tan
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Jingyu Chen
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Danping Wu
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Hanshu Yang
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Haotian Zhang
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Juehua Yu
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China Center for Experimental Studies and Research, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China
Xiujuan Du
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Yuan Dai
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Yiwei Pu
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Chunbo Li
Affiliation:
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Psychotic Disorders, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Xiang Wang
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, and National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders, The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, Changsha, China
Shenxun Shi
Affiliation:
Psychiatry Department of Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Barbara J. Sahakian
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Qiang Luo*
Affiliation:
National Clinical Research Center for Aging and Medicine at Huashan Hospital, State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and MOE Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China MOE Key Laboratory of Computational Neuroscience and Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Institutes of Brain Science and Human Phenome Institute, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
Fei Li*
Affiliation:
Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric and Child Primary Care, Brain and Behavioral Research Unit of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research and Ministry of Education-Shanghai Key Laboratory for Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
*
Corresponding author: Fei Li; Email: feili@shsmu.edu.cn; Qiang Luo; Email: qluo@fudan.edu.cn
Corresponding author: Fei Li; Email: feili@shsmu.edu.cn; Qiang Luo; Email: qluo@fudan.edu.cn

Abstract

Background

COVID-19 lockdowns increased the risk of mental health problems, especially for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, despite its importance, little is known about the protective factors for ASD children during the lockdowns.

Methods

Based on the Shanghai Autism Early Developmental Cohort, 188 ASD children with two visits before and after the strict Omicron lockdown were included; 85 children were lockdown-free, while 52 and 51 children were under the longer and the shorter durations of strict lockdown, respectively. We tested the association of the lockdown group with the clinical improvement and also the modulation effects of parent/family-related factors on this association by linear regression/mixed-effect models. Within the social brain structures, we examined the voxel-wise interaction between the grey matter volume and the identified modulation effects.

Results

Compared with the lockdown-free group, the ASD children experienced the longer duration of strict lockdown had less clinical improvement (β = 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.19–0.79], p = 0.001) and this difference was greatest for social cognition (2.62 [0.94–4.30], p = 0.002). We found that this association was modulated by parental agreeableness in a protective way (−0.11 [−0.17 to −0.05], p = 0.002). This protective effect was enhanced in the ASD children with larger grey matter volumes in the brain's mentalizing network, including the temporal pole, the medial superior frontal gyrus, and the superior temporal gyrus.

Conclusions

This longitudinal neuroimaging cohort study identified that the parental agreeableness interacting with the ASD children's social brain development reduced the negative impact on clinical symptoms during the strict lockdown.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

*

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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