Peer Victimization in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Co-occurring Anxiety: Relations with Psychopathology and Loneliness

Eric A. Storch, Michael J. Larson, Jill Ehrenreich-May, Elysse B. Arnold, Anna M. Jones, Patricia Renno, Cori Fujii, Adam B. Lewin, P. Jane Mutch, Tanya K. Murphy, Jeffrey J. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Peer problems are common among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and may be exacerbated among those who are also anxious. Yet, few data exist on the nature and psychosocial correlates of peer victimization in youth with ASD and anxiety. Accordingly, this study investigated associations among peer victimization, loneliness, autism-related social impairment, and psychopathology in a sample of 60 youth (ages 11-14 years) with ASD and co-occurring anxiety. Youth completed measures of peer victimization, loneliness, anxiety, and depression, while their parent completed measures of child behavioral and emotional problems, functional impairment in daily life, and autism-related social impairment. Modest rates of victimization were noted, with ~7 % and 15 % of youth reporting clinically significant relational and reputational victimization but 0 % of participants endorsing significant overt victimization. Peer victimization was directly but modestly associated with some psychosocial maladjustment indices, but not with autism-related social impairment. Although results have to be considered in the context of certain limitations, these data suggest that peer victimization may be associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms and loneliness in children with ASD and comorbid anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-590
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Assessment
  • Autism
  • Bullying
  • Children
  • Peer victimization
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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  • Cite this

    Storch, E. A., Larson, M. J., Ehrenreich-May, J., Arnold, E. B., Jones, A. M., Renno, P., Fujii, C., Lewin, A. B., Mutch, P. J., Murphy, T. K., & Wood, J. J. (2012). Peer Victimization in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Co-occurring Anxiety: Relations with Psychopathology and Loneliness. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 24(6), 575-590. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-012-9290-4