Continuity and Change in, and Child Predictors of, Caregiver Reported Anxiety Symptoms in Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Follow-Up Study
Little is known about continuity, change and predictors of anxiety in ASD. This follow-up study investigated changes in caregiver-reported anxiety in 54 non-referred youth with ASD after 10–19 months. Earlier child predictors of later anxiety were also examined. Anxiety scores were generally stable. Time 1 ASD repetitive behavior symptoms, but not social/communication symptoms, predicted Time 2 total anxiety scores, over and above child age, gender and adaptive functioning scores, but this predictive relationship was fully mitigated by Time 1 anxiety scores when these were included as a covariate in the regression model. Exploring bi-directionality between autism and anxiety symptomatology, Time 1 anxiety scores did not predict Time 2 ASD symptoms. Preliminary clinical implications and possible future directions are discussed.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Anxiety Child Symptomatology Predictors Longitudinal
We would like to thank all the children and caregivers for their participation and all the special schools for their collaboration. This study was funded by a start-up grant to the fourth author from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore.
EJT took the lead in analyzing data, reviewing the literature, and writing the manuscript for publication; DMeC contributed subtantially to data entry, cleaning and analyses; GKJT collected all Time 2 data and contributed to the development of the study’s research questions and initial analyses; IM conceptualized the study, obtained research funding, supervised and oversaw all aspects of the study. All authors contributed substantially to co-writing and revising the manuscript at different stages. All auhors read and approved the final manuscript.
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