J Autism Dev Disord 2019 Jun;49(6):2219-2230
Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, 230 S. Frontage Rd, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
The anxiety and autism realms are each complicated and heterogeneous, and relationships between the two areas are especially complex. Network analysis offers a promising approach to the phenotypic complexities of typical and atypical human behavior. The Revised Children's Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) was used to assess anxiety in 126 high-functioning 9-13 year-olds with ASDs. Network graphs of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule items and RCADS anxiety total score, social, generalized, panic and separation anxiety subscores consistently found the anxiety node (score) to be highly peripheral. Also, the networks of RCADS anxiety items themselves were similar for the ASDs group and a general population comparison group (n = 2017). The results suggest anxiety is not a central part of autism and that anxiety is dynamically similar (aspects of anxiety relate to one another in a similar manner) in high-functioning autism and the general population.