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J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 Jul;39(7):1006-13. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0713-8. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Anxiety, social deficits, and loneliness in youth with autism spectrum disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 24061, USA.


The purpose of this study was to explore relationships among anxiety, loneliness, and degree of social skill deficit in a sample of youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Participants (N = 20) were between 7 and 14 years of age, verbal, and had low average or higher assessed intelligence (average IQ = 92 +/- 14.41). Youth who self-reported elevated levels of anxiety reported greater feelings of social loneliness. Those participants earning above average total anxiety scores reported significantly more loneliness than those with less anxiety (F = 6.60, p < .05). A significant relationship between parent-reported child withdrawal and depression and social disability also was found. Recommendations for assessment of co-occurring psychiatric problems in youth with ASD are offered.

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