Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 77-90

First online:

Development of a Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Program to Treat Anxiety and Social Deficits in Teens with High-Functioning Autism

  • Susan W. WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Email author 
  • , Anne Marie AlbanoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center
  • , Cynthia R. JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • , Connie KasariAffiliated withPsychological Studies in Education UCLA, 68-268 Semel Institute and Center for Autism Research and Treatment UCLA
  • , Thomas OllendickAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • , Ami KlinAffiliated withYale School of Medicine, Yale Child Study Center
  • , Donald OswaldAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Lawrence ScahillAffiliated withYale School of Nursing and Child Study Center, Yale Child Study Center

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Anxiety is a common co-occurring problem among young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication problems, and stereotyped behavior and restricted interests, this group of disorders is more prevalent than previously realized. When present, anxiety may compound the social deficits of young people with ASD. Given the additional disability and common co-occurrence of anxiety in ASD, we developed a manual-based cognitive-behavioral treatment program to target anxiety symptoms as well as social skill deficits in adolescents with ASD [Multimodal Anxiety and Social Skills Intervention: MASSI]. In this paper, we describe the foundation, content, and development of MASSI. We also summarize data on treatment feasibility based on a pilot study that implemented the intervention.


Autism Anxiety Social skills Adolescence Intervention Therapy