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

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Sanna Kuusikko.

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Kuusikko, S., Pollock-Wurman, R., Jussila, K. et al. Social Anxiety in High-functioning Children and Adolescents with Autism and Asperger Syndrome. J Autism Dev Disord 38, 1697–1709 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0555-9

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