Exploring anxiety at home, school, and in the community through self‐report from children on the autism spectrum

Abstract
Research investigating anxiety in children on the autism spectrum usually reports caregiver rather than self‐report perspectives. This study aimed to document children's own descriptions of their anxiety symptomatology by combining profiles on a standardized autism‐specific self‐report measure of anxiety (ASC‐ASD‐C) with the answers from closed‐ and open‐answer questions about anxiety across home, school, and community settings. Across the sample of 113 children on the spectrum aged 6–14 years, the two most frequently endorsed items on the ASC‐ASD‐C were from the Uncertainty and Performance Anxiety subscales, and the least endorsed were both from the Anxious Arousal subscale. Almost all (96.5%) of the children on the spectrum reported experiencing anxiety in at least one setting, with 40.7% reporting anxiety in all three contexts (home, school, and community). Approximately half of the sample felt their anxiety goes unrecognized by others at school and almost 60% felt it was unrecognized by others when out in the community. The proportion of children reporting having someone to help reduce their anxiety differed across home (86%), school (76%), and community (45%) settings. This highlights the importance of understanding anxiety and its impact, not only within the context of autism but also for each particular child.
Citation
Adams, D., Simpson, K. & Keen, D. (2019). Exploring anxiety at home, school, and in the community through self‐report from children on the autism spectrum, Autism Research, early online. doi: 10.1002/aur.2246

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