Purpose – Children and young people with co‐morbid intellectual disabilities and autism are more prone to experience mental health problems compared to people with intellectual disabilities but without autism. Children and young people with intellectual disabilities and autism may experience symptoms of anxiety at a greater level than the general population; however, this is not supported with research evidence in relation to the prevalence of anxiety in people with intellectual disabilities and autism. The aim of this study is to identify the prevalence of anxiety disorders in children and young people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 150 children and young people (age range of 5‐18 years) from a metropolitan district in the North of England were screened for anxiety using the Reiss Scales for Children's Dual Diagnosis and the Glasgow Anxiety Scale. Findings – The results indicate that the prevalence of anxiety was 32.6 per cent for children and young people with intellectual disabilities and autism on the Glasgow Anxiety Scale. One of the important questions that arise from this study is the risk factors for the high prevalence of anxiety in children and adolescents with autism. Originality/value – The findings highlight the prevalence of anxiety in children and young people with co‐morbid intellectual disabilities and autism. This has implications for assessment of anxiety disorders for children and young people with intellectual disabilities.
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 11, 2012
Keywords: Anxiety; Autism; Intellectual disabilities; Prevalence; Children and young people; Learning disabilities; Mental health disorders
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