Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1697–1709 | Cite as

Social Anxiety in High-functioning Children and Adolescents with Autism and Asperger Syndrome

  • Sanna KuusikkoEmail author
  • Rachel Pollock-Wurman
  • Katja Jussila
  • Alice S. Carter
  • Marja-Leena Mattila
  • Hanna Ebeling
  • David L. Pauls
  • Irma Moilanen
Original Paper


We examined social anxiety and internalizing symptoms using the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children (SPAI-C), the Social Anxiety Scale for Children -Revised (SASC-R), and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in a sample of fifty-four high-functioning subjects with autism or Asperger syndrome (HFA/AS) (M = 11.2 ± 1.7 years) and 305 community subjects (M = 12.2 ± 2.2 years). Children and adolescents completed the SPAI-C and SASC-R, and their parents completed the CBCL Internalizing scale. Adolescents with HFA/AS scored higher than the community sample on all measures. Behavioural avoidance and evaluative social anxiety increased by age within the HFA/AS group, whereas behavioural avoidance decreased by age in control participants. Data support that HFA/AS in adolescents may be associated with clinically relevant social anxiety symptoms.


Asperger syndrome High-functioning autism Social anxiety Social phobia 



The research was supported by The Alma and K. A. Snellman Foundation, Oulu, Finland (PI: S. Kuusikko); Child Psychiatric Research Foundation, Finland (PI: S. Kuusikko); Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District Area, Finland (PI: S. Kuusikko); Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Finland (PI: H. Ebeling); the Rinnekoti Research Foundation, Espoo, Finland (PI: M-L. Mattila); National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR, PI: D. Pauls); Thule Institute, University of Oulu (PI: I. Moilanen); and Juselius Foundation (PI: I. Moilanen). We want to thank the participants of the study and Ms Leena Joskitt for her help in statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanna Kuusikko
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rachel Pollock-Wurman
    • 3
  • Katja Jussila
    • 1
  • Alice S. Carter
    • 4
  • Marja-Leena Mattila
    • 1
  • Hanna Ebeling
    • 1
  • David L. Pauls
    • 3
  • Irma Moilanen
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinic of Child PsychiatricUniversity and University Hospital of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Child Psychiatric ClinicUniversity Hospital of OuluOuluFinland
  3. 3.Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.University of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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