The Presentation and Classification of Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder


Address correspondence to Philip C. Kendall and Connor Kerns, Department of Psychology - Weiss Hall, Temple University, 1701 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122. E-mail:,


Research on the expression and prevalence of co-occurring anxiety disorders and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has produced variable results, in part due to the diversity in sample ascertainment and composition, methodology, and the operationalization of anxiety across studies. The present review organizes these findings to consider whether anxiety symptoms reported in ASD are better categorized as (a) a part of ASD or (b) a comorbid disorder. Although there is some support for the presence of co-occurring, potentially comorbid anxiety disorders in ASD, a shift toward measurement validation and dimensional approaches in future research is needed to determine the role of anxiety in ASD, particularly regarding its “typical” and “atypical” presentation in this population.