Variable patterns of daily activity participation across settings in autistic youth: A latent profile transition analysis


Participation in daily activities is often linked to functional independence and well-being, yet individual variability in participation and factors associated with that variation have rarely been examined among autistic youth. We applied latent profile analysis to identify subgroups of youth based on parent-reported activity participation frequency at home, school, and community, as well as associations with youth characteristics, family demographics, and environmental supportiveness among 158 autistic youth (ages 11-14 years at baseline). Three-, three- and two-profile solutions were selected respectively for home, school, and community settings; the most prevalent profiles were characterized by frequent home participation (73%), low participation in non-classroom activities at school (65%), and low community participation, particularly in social gatherings (80%), indicating participation imbalance across settings. More active participation profiles were generally associated with greater environmental support, higher cognitive and adaptive functioning, and less externalizing behaviour. Latent transition analysis revealed overall 75% stability in profile membership over approximately one year, with a different home participation profile emerging at the second time-point. Our findings highlighted the variable participation patterns among autistic youth as associated with individual, family, and environmental factors, thus stressing the need for optimizing person-environment fit through tailored supports to promote autistic youth’s participation across settings.

Autism, 1-15