Exploring Possible Gender Profiles in Carer-Reported Anxiety Symptoms in Children on the Autism Spectrum

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Adams, Dawn

Keen, Deborah

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Simpson, Kathryn

Dissanayake, Cheryl

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2018
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Abstract

Anxiety is more prevalent in children on the autism spectrum than in the general population, and has significant short- and long-term implications across educational settings, home environments, and in the community. In typically developing children, females have higher prevalence rates for a diagnosis of anxiety than males. The gender prevalence rates of anxiety symptoms in children on the spectrum have not yet been established. This study utilised data from the Anxiety Scale for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASC-ASD) parent-report questionnaire to explore gender profiles of anxiety symptoms in children on the autism spectrum. Data were analysed using a combination of inferential and descriptive statistics at the levels of ASC-ASD-P total scores, subscale scores for the Anxious Arousal, Separation Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, and Uncertainty subscales, and at individual item level. The findings show that male and female children on the autism spectrum have more similarities than differences in their anxiety symptoms, with gender differences found only on the Anxious Arousal subscale and in five out of 24 individual items. Where gender differences were found, females had higher carer-reported anxiety scores than males. This exploratory study highlights the need for further research into this complex field to improve our understanding of anxiety in children on the autism spectrum, in order to inform diagnosis and intervention strategies. These findings also provide direction for future studies, including the investigation of possible typical and atypical signs of anxiety in children on the autism spectrum, and the role of gender in children on the autism spectrum.

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Thesis (Masters)

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Master of Education and Professional Studies Research (MEdProfStRes)

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School Educ & Professional St

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Subject

Gender profiles

Carer-reported anxiety

Children

Autism spectrum

Symptoms

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