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Autism Res. 2018 Dec;11(12):1679-1689. doi: 10.1002/aur.2039. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Social difficulties in youth with autism with and without anxiety and ADHD symptoms.

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Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Stanford University, Stanford, California.
Great Lakes Neurobehavioral Center, Edina, Minnesota.
Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Clinical Psychology Training Consortium, Providence, Rhode Island.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Social difficulties inherent to autism spectrum disorder are often linked with co-occurring symptoms of anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The present study sought to examine the relation between such co-occurring symptoms and social challenges. Parents of adolescents with autism (N = 113) reported upon social challenges via the social responsiveness scale (SRS) and anxiety and ADHD symptomatology via the Child Behavior Checklist. Results revealed differences in SRS scores across co-occurring symptom subgroups (Anxiety, ADHD, Both, Neither)-namely, adolescents with autism and anxiety as well as those with autism, anxiety, and ADHD showed greater scores on the SRS than the other groups. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed and recommendations are offered. Autism Research 2018, 11: 1679-1689. © 2018 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. LAY SUMMARY: Anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are related to greater social challenges for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. The present study found that autism with anxiety and autism with anxiety and ADHD, was related to greater social difficulties than autism alone. Findings provide further support for the intertwined nature of anxiety and ADHD symptoms in autism. What this may mean for research and clinical practice is considered and recommendations are suggested.


anxiety; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; autism; social responsiveness scale

[Available on 2019-12-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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