Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 1841–1846 | Cite as

Brief Report: Screening Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder for Anxiety and Depression

  • Yong-Hwee NahEmail author
  • Neil Brewer
  • Robyn L. Young
  • Rebecca Flower
Brief Report


Although depression and anxiety are the most common comorbidities in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), descriptive data for their prevalence among autistic adults are limited. This study provides descriptive data for a cohort of 155 autistic adults (mean age = 27.1 years, SD = 11.9) of average IQ on the short-form version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales and the Mini Social Phobia Inventory. Also included were 79 non-ASD participants (mean age = 26.2, SD = 10.2) who completed the mini-SPIN. A substantial percentage (39–46%) of autistic adults scored within the ‘Moderate’ to ‘Extremely Severe’ range on the DASS-21. The DASS-21 would be a valuable rapid screening device for these comorbid conditions in autistic adults.


DASS-21 Mini-SPIN Autism Spectrum Disorder adult 



This research was supported by a Flinders Research Grant and the Hamish Ramsay Fund. We gratefully acknowledge Emily Barnett for assistance with data collection.

Author Contributions

Y-HN, NB, and RY developed the study concept. RF collected most of the data. Y-HN performed the analyses. Y-HN and NB drafted the paper, and RY and RF provided critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the paper for submission.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education, Psychology and Social WorkFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Specialisterne AustraliaMelbourneAustralia

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