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Social anxiety in adult males with autism spectrum disorders

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Debbie Spain, Francesca Happé, Patrick Johnston, Malcolm Campbell, Jacqueline Sin, Eileen Daly, Christine Ecker, Martin Anson, Eddie Chaplin, Karen Glaser, Andreina Mendez, Karina Lovell, Declan G. Murphy, Patrick Johnston, Malcolm Campbell, Martin Anson, Karina Lovell, AIMS Consortium MRC AIMS Consortium, Eddie Chaplin

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalResearch In Autism Spectrum Disorders
Early online date16 Sep 2016
Accepted/In press3 Aug 2016
E-pub ahead of print16 Sep 2016
PublishedDec 2016


King's Authors


Background Psychiatric conditions, notably anxiety, commonly co-occur with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Method This study investigated self-reported behavioural, cognitive and affective symptoms of social anxiety (SA) in 50 adult males with ASD. Associations between SA, core ASD symptoms and facets of neuropsychological functioning were also examined. Results Twenty-six participants (52%) endorsed levels of SA that exceeded the suggested caseness threshold for social anxiety disorder. Categorical and dimensional data analyses indicated that there were no relationships between SA symptoms, present-state or childhood ASD symptom-severity, or measures of socio-emotional processing in this sample. Conclusions Study findings suggest that severity of SA is not merely a reflection of ASD symptom-severity. Further research is needed to ascertain the prevalence of SA in adult ASD epidemiological samples, and identify causal and maintaining mechanisms for these co-morbid symptoms.

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