Phenomenology of Anxiety in Preschool Children With ASD

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Inc.
Updated on 25 January 2021
Yeon Jang
Primary Contact
Kennedy Krieger Institute (10.0 mi away) Contact
pervasive developmental disorder


This study investigates the prevalence, phenomenology, and correlates of anxiety in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across a two-year period. Attention bias to threat, a potential objective marker of anxiety, also is examined using eye tracking methods.


Anxiety disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are one of the most prevalent and impairing co-occurring conditions, affecting approximately 40% of the population and causing major disruptions in school and family life. Research in typically developing (TD) children suggests that anxiety usually emerges in the preschool years (3-5 years) and can result in future psychopathology. Early detection and treatment of childhood anxiety in children with ASD can lead to improved clinical outcomes.

This study assesses the prevalence and phenomenology of anxiety in preschool children with ASD utilizing an established and comprehensive measure of anxiety in children with ASD across three time points (baseline, one year post, two years post).It also investigates the association of child (e.g., ASD features) and parent (e.g., mental health, caregiver strain) characteristics with anxiety cross-sectionally and longitudinally, to determine if certain correlates predict or maintain future anxiety. Attention bias to threat stimuli and its physiological correlates are also examined as potential objective markers of anxiety using eye tracking and pupillometry methods.

Condition Pervasive developmental disorder, ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders (Pediatric), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD - Pediatric), Anxiety Symptoms, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Anxiety Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorder, anxious
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04436432
SponsorHugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Inc.
Last Modified on25 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age 3 years 0 months to 5 years 11 months
DSM-5 ASD diagnosis based on clinical impressions and results of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS-2)
Child resides with at least one biological parent
Parents are English speaking

Exclusion Criteria

History of psychological trauma
History of neurologic illness
Parent substance abuse, bipolar disorder, psychosis
Parents require support from a medical interpreter
Child displays severe behavior challenges
Severe eyesight or hearing impairments that may interfere with the protocols
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