Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1006–1013 | Cite as

Anxiety, Social Deficits, and Loneliness in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Susan W. WhiteEmail author
  • Roxann Roberson-Nay
Original Paper


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.


Autism Asperger Anxiety Loneliness Social skills 



This project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health [1K01MH079945-01; PI: S. W. White]. The authors acknowledge the consultation of Jessica Schneider, MA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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