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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 1220–1229 | Cite as

The Interplay Between Anxiety and Social Functioning in Williams Syndrome

  • Deborah M. RibyEmail author
  • Mary Hanley
  • Hannah Kirk
  • Fiona Clark
  • Katie Little
  • Ruth Fleck
  • Emily Janes
  • Linzi Kelso
  • Fionnuala O’Kane
  • Rachel Cole-Fletcher
  • Marianne Hvistendahl Allday
  • Darren Hocking
  • Kim Cornish
  • Jacqui Rodgers
Original Paper

Abstract

The developmental disorder Williams syndrome (WS) has been associated with an atypical social profile of hyper-sociability and heightened social sensitivity across the developmental spectrum. In addition, previous research suggests that both children and adults with WS have a predisposition towards anxiety. The current research aimed to explore the profiles of social behaviour and anxiety across a broad age range of individuals with the disorder (n = 59, ages 6–36 years). We used insights from parental reports on two frequently used measures, the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS-P) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Severity of anxiety was correlated with a greater degree of social dysfunction as measured by the SRS in this group. We split the group according to high or low anxiety as measured by the SCAS-P and explored the profile of social skills for the two groups. Individuals high and low in anxiety differed in their social abilities. The results emphasise the need to address anxiety issues in this disorder and to consider how components of anxiety might relate to other features of the disorder.

Keywords

Williams syndrome Social Anxiety 

Abbreviations

SRS

Social Responsiveness Scale

SCAS-P

Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale Parent Measure

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank all the families and schools who participated in the research reported here.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah M. Riby
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mary Hanley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hannah Kirk
    • 3
  • Fiona Clark
    • 4
  • Katie Little
    • 4
  • Ruth Fleck
    • 4
  • Emily Janes
    • 5
    • 6
  • Linzi Kelso
    • 2
  • Fionnuala O’Kane
    • 2
  • Rachel Cole-Fletcher
    • 5
  • Marianne Hvistendahl Allday
    • 4
  • Darren Hocking
    • 3
  • Kim Cornish
    • 3
  • Jacqui Rodgers
    • 5
  1. 1.Science Laboratories, Department of PsychologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyQueens UniversityBelfastUK
  3. 3.School of Psychology and PsychiatryMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.School of PsychologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  5. 5.Institute of NeuroscienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  6. 6.Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation TrustNewcastle upon TyneUK

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