Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 405–413

Translation of Anxiety Treatment to Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Review Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10826-012-9593-1

Cite this article as:
Selles, R.R. & Storch, E.A. J Child Fam Stud (2013) 22: 405. doi:10.1007/s10826-012-9593-1


Clinically significant anxiety affects many youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is associated with a number of functional consequences. Building from treatment approaches of anxiety in typically developing populations, pharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches to treating anxiety in ASD are being increasingly examined. Despite being commonly prescribed, there is limited empirical support beyond open trials and case series at present for the use of antidepressants or anxiolytics in the treatment of anxiety for youth with ASD. A modest body of evidence exists supporting the application of a modified form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, with associated reductions in anxiety and some core autism improvements. Further research, refinement and replication is needed to establish the efficacy of treatment approaches for anxiety in youth with ASD, what treatment component(s) are most appropriate for which patients, what factors may play an integral role in treatment outcomes, and whether treatments result in durable and generalizable gains.


Anxiety Autism spectrum disorders Psychotherapy Psychopharmacology Cognitive-behavioral therapy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychology and PediatricsUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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