Current Psychiatry Reports

, 19:92 | Cite as

Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Valentina Postorino
  • Connor M. Kerns
  • Giacomo Vivanti
  • Jessica Bradshaw
  • Martina Siracusano
  • Luigi Mazzone
Anxiety Disorders (A Pelissolo, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Anxiety Disorders


Purpose of Review

This review aims to synthesize the most recent research on anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and discuss the relationship between these conditions and challenges for assessment. Furthermore, implications for treatment and future directions are discussed.

Recent Findings

Research suggests that anxiety disorders and OCD are highly prevalent in individuals with ASD. However, the significant overlap of ASD features with anxiety and OCD symptomology makes differential diagnosis of these disorders particularly challenging. Though several treatments for anxiety have been adapted for youth with ASD (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy), pharmacological treatments and treatments for adults are still marked undeveloped.


Despite the high prevalence of anxiety disorders and OCD in ASD and some recent advances in assessment and treatment, research is needed to clarify the multifaceted relationship of these conditions and develop tailored assessment and treatment approaches appropriate for a full range of individuals with ASD.


Anxiety Obsessive-compulsive disorder Autism spectrum disorder Repetitive behaviors 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Valentina Postorino, Giacomo Vivanti, Jessica Bradshaw, Martina Siracusano, and Luigi Mazzone declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Connor Kerns receives book royalties from Elsevier. Dr. Kerns is owner of Connor M. Kerns, PhD, LCC, which provides training in the ADIS/ASA.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Postorino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Connor M. Kerns
    • 3
  • Giacomo Vivanti
    • 3
  • Jessica Bradshaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martina Siracusano
    • 4
  • Luigi Mazzone
    • 4
  1. 1.The Marcus Autism CenterAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.A.J. Drexel Autism InstituteDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit, Systems Medicine DepartmentTor Vergata University Hospital of RomeRomeItaly

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