Which aspects of challenging behaviour are associated with anxiety across two age groups of young males with an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Vicki Bitsika, Christopher F. Sharpley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also often exhibit elevated anxiety and Challenging Behaviour (CB) but relatively little is known about the detailed association between CB and anxiety. To investigate this issue, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory subscale for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (CASI-GAD) were completed by 150 parents about their sons with ASD to determine the overall association between CB and GAD. Correlational and regression models were used to describe the links with the total scores, subscales, and the specific items of the ABC and CASI-GAD. Results indicated that only the Irritability subscale of the ABC was significantly associated with of GAD. Seven of the eight symptoms of GAD were significantly associated with only one of the ABC Irritability subscale items—the need for demands to be met immediately and/or temper tantrums. This association was most powerful for the GAD symptoms of restlessness and irritability. These data indicate that CB and GAD were linked via relatively discrete subsets of each construct, with an underlying connection based upon insistence on sameness and intolerance of uncertainty, and that intervention protocols need to identify the presence of those parts of these constructs in order to most effectively tailor treatments to individual needs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)685-701
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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