Selective mutism in children with and without an autism spectrum disorder: The role of sensory avoidance in mediating symptoms of social anxiety

Amanda Ludlow, Clarissa Osborne, Saskia Keville

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Abstract

The present study addressed the different contributors to social anxiety in children with Selective Mutism (SM), with and without co-occurring Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (SM + ASD). Seventy-five parents completed an online composite questionnaire consisting of the symptoms of SM and ASD, anxiety and sensory measures. The results found the SM + ASD group showed significantly higher levels of social anxiety and sensory avoidance compared to the SM only group. However, a simple mediation model revealed sensory avoidance to be a mediator of this relationship between the diagnosis and social anxiety. Therefore, higher levels of sensory avoidance may help to differentiate social anxiety between the groups and may also be a sign of ASD in children with SM who have and/or are yet to receive an ASD diagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Selective mutism
  • Sensory avoidance

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