Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 3789–3802 | Cite as

Anxiety, Intolerance of Uncertainty and Restricted and Repetitive Behaviour: Insights Directly from Young People with ASD

  • Caroline JoyceEmail author
  • Emma Honey
  • Susan R. Leekam
  • Sarah L. Barrett
  • Jacqui Rodgers
S.I. : Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders


In order to investigate the experience of anxiety and restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRB) in young people with ASD, 19 families with young people with ASD aged between 13 and 20 years completed questionnaire measures of RRB, anxiety, and intolerance of uncertainty. Ten young people also completed a novel semi-structured interview exploring an individualised example of an RRB. Findings demonstrated that young people with ASD can self-report and show insight in to their RRB, and replicated previous findings based on parent report showing a significant positive relationship between RRB and anxiety. This is the first evidence of young person self-report using both quantitative and qualitative data and indicates a range of reasons why young people may engage in RRB.


ASD Anxiety Restricted and repetitive behaviours Intolerance of uncertainty Self-report 



This study was carried out in partial fulfilment of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Newcastle University. We would like to acknowledge Daslne and the schools involved with recruitment for their support and all the families who kindly gave up their time to take part in the study.

Author Contributions

CJ contributed to study design, study coordination, data collection, data analysis, interpreting the data and drafted the manuscript. EH contributed to conceiving the study, study design, data interpretation and provided comments on the manuscript. SL contributed to data analysis, data interpretation and provided comments on the manuscript. SB contributed to the design of the study, allowing use of her previous work on self-report measurement of RRB and provided comments on the manuscript. JR contributed to conceiving the study, study design, coordination, data analysis, interpretation of the data and provided comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3027_MOESM1_ESM.docx (39 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 38 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Joyce
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emma Honey
    • 2
  • Susan R. Leekam
    • 3
  • Sarah L. Barrett
    • 4
  • Jacqui Rodgers
    • 5
  1. 1.Clinical PsychologyInstitute of Neuroscience, Newcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.School of Psychology, Wales Autism Research CentreCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  4. 4.School of Psychology, Wales Autism Research CentreCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  5. 5.Institute of NeuroscienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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