Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 2404–2409 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Repetitive Behaviours in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Original Paper


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are vulnerable to anxiety. Repetitive behaviours are a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and have been associated anxiety. This study examined repetitive behaviours and anxiety in two groups of children with autism spectrum disorder, those with high anxiety and those with lower levels of anxiety. Children with high anxiety had more repetitive behaviours than those without anxiety. Within the anxiety sample, higher levels of insistence on sameness were associated with more anxiety. No association was found between sensory motor repetitive behaviours and anxiety in this group. In the non-anxious sample, anxiety was associated with sensory motor repetitive behaviours. These findings indicate a differential relationship for repetitive behaviours in relation to anxious and non-anxious children with ASD.


Repetitive behaviours Anxiety Insistence on sameness Autism spectrum disorder 



Some of the data reported here was derived from independent research commissioned by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under the Research for Patient Benefit programme (PB-PG-0408-16069). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. Some of the data is reported a doctoral thesis in part fulfilment of the qualification Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (B Connolly).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Rodgers
    • 1
  • M. Glod
    • 1
  • B. Connolly
    • 2
  • H. McConachie
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medical SciencesUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleUK
  2. 2.School of Psychology, Faculty of Medical SciencesUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleUK
  3. 3.Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medical SciencesUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleUK

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