Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to determine the point prevalence of SAD in adult males with high-functioning ASD. Secondary aims included exploring whether there were associations between SAD and low mood, SAD and general anxiety, and severity of ASD and social anxiety.
Methods: An observational, cross-sectional study design was used. A community sample of adult males with high-functioning ASD was recruited. Participants and their informants (a parent) completed several validated self-report questionnaires via a postal survey.
Results: Fifty-one individuals participated in the study. Point prevalence of SAD was 52%. Sample characteristics did not differ significantly between groups scoring above and below the SAD clinical threshold. Higher rates and levels of low mood and general anxiety were found in the group scoring above the SAD clinical threshold. Significant associations were found between SAD and low mood, and SAD and general anxiety. Correlations between severity of ASD and social anxiety were not significant.
Conclusions: SAD appears to be highly prevalent in this population. Anxiety symptoms may be ‘masked’ due to relatively high-functioning abilities, and core ASD symptoms may render it difficult for individuals to seek support spontaneously. A more proactive approach to the assessment of SAD is indicated, which could include the use of self-report questionnaires. Further research is needed into understanding the phenomenology and aetiological factors associated with social anxiety in this population, with a view to informing the development of evidence-based interventions.
See more of: Psychiatric/Behavioral Comorbidities
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype