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20-03-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 7/2017 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 7/2017

Anxiety Levels in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 7/2017
Auteurs:
Francisca J. A. van Steensel, Emma J. Heeman

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to meta-analytically examine whether anxiety levels in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are elevated. A total of 83 articles were selected from a systematic literature search and were included in the meta-analyses. Results demonstrated that children with ASD had higher anxiety levels compared to typically developing children, and this difference increased with IQ. Youth with ASD also tended to have higher anxiety levels compared to clinically referred children, and this difference increased with age. Children with ASD had higher anxiety levels compared to youth with externalizing or developmental problems, but not when compared to youth with internalizing problems. The study findings highlight the importance of more research in order to fully understand the nature and development of anxiety in children with ASD. More specifically, the results suggest that especially high-functioning adolescents with ASD may be at risk for developing anxiety disorders. Therefore, it seems important to carefully follow and monitor children with ASD transcending to adolescence.

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