Effects of Age on the Types and Severity of Excessive Fears in Children and Young Adults with Autism

David Richman, Wesley Dotson, Layla Abby, Samuel Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study identified (a) patterns of fearful stimuli for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (b) the severity of the fear, and (c) whether excessive fear or the absence of fear negatively affected the subject’s quality of life. A web-based survey was used to distribute a modified and extended version of the Fear Survey Schedule for Children-Revised (Ollendick, 1983) to 328 families with children with ASD. Sixty respondents completed the survey, representing a cross-section of individuals with ASD from 3-22 years old. Responses were analyzed using both descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses for the total sample and the three age groups: 3-7, 8-13, and 14-22 years old. The overall severity of fears decreased and the types of stimuli feared changed from concrete (getting a shot, going to the dentist) to more socially-based (being evaluated, being teased) with increasing age. Thus, while the severity of fears may decrease throughout child
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-235
JournalJournal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities
StatePublished - 2012

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