There is a paucity of research examining the impact of generalized anxiety symptoms on social outcomes in high functioning (HF) youth with ASD. The primary goal of this study was to examine the relation between parent ratings of generalized anxiety symptoms and peer relations in HF youth with ASD between the ages of 7 and 18 years. Results indicated that although generalized anxiety was related to poorer peer relations, it was not predictive of peer relations over and above age, gender, IQ, autistic social impairment, or depression symptoms. However, IQ and depressive symptoms were strong predictors of peer relations in these youth. This finding underscores the importance of screening for depression and other mental health issues in HF youth with ASD.
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Thesis advisor: Iarocci, Grace
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