Healthy Living

Anxiety May Heighten Social Communication Challenges in Autism

The link between anxiety, social communication, and behavior

Two years later, the researchers performed the same assessments in 79 of the children to uncover the link between anxiety, social communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. They found that children with increased anxiety experienced greater social communication difficulties two years later. They did not, however, find a link between anxiety and restricted/repetitive behaviors.

Still, Lawrence Scahill, Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, noted that failure to conduct a follow-up on the other 51 children may have skewed the results. The children who underwent a follow-up were younger on average, more likely to be of Western European descent, and came from a two-parent household. Whether such aspects had any effect on the results of the study remains unclear. “If the researchers are right that early indicators of anxiety portend higher social disability later, then we better get on the stick” said Scahill.