The role of co-occurring disruptive behavior in the clinical presentation of children and adolescents with anxiety in the context of autism spectrum disorders

Eric A. Storch, Elysse B. Arnold, Anna M. Jones, Chelsea M. Ale, Jeffrey J. Wood, Jill Ehrenreich-May, Adam B. Lewin, P. Jane Mutch, Tanya K. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


This study explored the impact of disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) comorbidity on theoretically relevant correlates among 87 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and clinically significant anxiety. Relative to youth with ASD and anxiety alone, participants with ASD, anxiety, and DBD: (a) presented with significantly more severe anxiety symptoms per clinician-, parent-, and self-report; (b) were more likely to be prescribed antipsychotic medication but were no more likely to receive additional psychosocial and educational interventions; and (c) experienced significantly greater functional impairment and family interference. These results suggest that co-occurring DBD in the context of ASD and anxiety confers greater risk for heightened symptom severity and functional impairment, and may be linked with increased prescription of antipsychotic medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-746
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012



  • Anxiety
  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Assessment
  • Autism
  • Children
  • Comorbidity
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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