Social escape behavior is a common behavioral feature of individuals with fragile X syndrome (fraX). In this observational study, we examined the effect of antecedent social and performance demands on problem behaviors in four conditions: face-to-face interview, silent reading, oral reading and a singing task. Results showed that problem behaviors were significantly more likely to occur during the interview and singing conditions. Higher levels of salivary cortisol were predictive of higher levels of fidgeting behavior and lower levels of eye contact in male participants. There were no associations between level of FMRP expression and social escape behaviors. These data suggest that specific antecedent biological and environmental factors evoke social escape behaviors in fragile X syndrome.