Treating anxiety disorders in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders: a controlled trial

J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Nov;37(10):1842-57. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0318-4. Epub 2006 Dec 15.


A family-based, cognitive behavioural treatment for anxiety in 47 children with comorbid anxiety disorders and High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFA) was evaluated. Treatment involved 12 weekly group sessions and was compared with a waiting list condition. Changes between pre- and post-treatment were examined using clinical interviews as well as child-, parent- and teacher-report measures. Following treatment, 71.4% of the treated participants no longer fulfilled diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder. Comparisons between the two conditions indicated significant reductions in anxiety symptoms as measured by self-report, parent report and teacher report. Discussion focuses on the implications for the use of cognitive behaviour therapy with HFA children, for theory of mind research and for further research on the treatment components.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Aptitude*
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Manifest Anxiety Scale
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Treatment Outcome