The role of anxiety in individuals growing up with autism: An adult's perspective




Bentel, Kelly

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The purpose of the study was to examine whether individuals with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a comorbid Anxiety Disorder displayed an increased frequency of anxiety-related symptoms compared to those with ASD without a comorbid Anxiety Disorder. Additionally, the impact of having multiple self-reported friendships on the frequency of anxiety-related symptoms was investigated. Two hundred and forty adults, ranging in age from 18-67, participated in the study survey. Selected questions from the survey were investigated to examine the impact of a comorbid Anxiety Disorder, friendships, and counseling or mental health services on the frequency of anxiety-related symptoms. Although statistically significant results were not found, likely due to limited sample size, this study paves the way for future research regarding the importance of social interactions, as well as counseling and mental health services, to reduce anxiety-related symptoms. School psychologists can utilize this research to further investigate the importance of peer relationships in the schools. Until recently, anxiety has typically not been diagnosed separately from autism. Therefore, as children begin to be diagnosed more frequently with both disorders, it is critical for school psychologists to understand the impact of the symptoms of anxiety for individuals with ASD.