Measuring Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder


The overall aim of this study was to develop and provide some preliminary evaluation of the measurement properties of a measure of anxiety symptoms for use with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Anxiety is common in young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affecting around 50% of children. It can have wide ranging consequences for the child and their family, including impact on activities of daily living, quality of life, school attendance and attainment. To understand the ways in which anxiety manifests and impacts on the lives of young people with ASD and to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to address anxiety it is of critical importance that researchers and clinicians have access to suitable anxiety measurement tools. There is some evidence that anxiety may present atypically in autistic children but to date no tools have been specifically developed for and validated with children on the autism spectrum. This study, funded by the Baily Thomas Fund, was the first to develop and provide preliminary validation of an anxiety questionnaire specifically for autistic children. Working with families, we developed and evaluated the measurement properties of a parent and child self report measure for children aged 8-16 years: the Anxiety Scale for Children - ASD (ASC-ASD©). The measure is free to download from

Ongoing work is adapting the measure to make it suitable for use with autistic adults.

Who was involved in this study?

The Principal Investigator for this study was Dr Jacqui Rodgers

Jacqui Rodgers

Also involved in the project from the Neurodevelopment and Disability team were:

‌‌Helen McConachie‌

  • Co-Investigator
  • Strategic Research Adviser
  • Professor of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology

Jeremy Parr‌

  • Co-Investigator
  • Clinical Senior Lecturer
  • Honorary Consultant Paediatrician, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

And from outside the team were:

  • Mark Freeston (Co-Investigator; Professor of Clinical Psychology, Newcastle University)
  • Emma Honey (Co-Investigator; Senior Clinical Psychologist, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust/ Associate Clinical Lecturer, Newcastle University)
  • Sarah Wigham (Co-Investigator; Research Associate, Newcastle University)

More information        



Twitter: @jacquirodgers 

Call: 0191 208 7562

Other research

Measuring anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder sits within the 'Engaging young people and familiestheme.

If you are looking for other research linked to ASDMental Health, or Outcome Measurement, please view the relevant conditions and topics page for a full list of studies.