Links between Autism and social anxiety are well established. However statistical issues in previous research, coupled with difficulties differentiating social versus general anxiety in this group, have raised questions about this relationship. We explored generalised anxiety, and its subcomponents, as potential mediators of this relationship in two studies, drawing on large samples from the general population. These analyses provide evidence of a positive relationship between autistic traits and social anxiety, even when controlling for generalised anxiety, depression, and socio-demographic variables. Nonetheless, generalised anxiety and depression significantly mediated the relationship between autistic traits and social anxiety. Exploratory mediation analysis indicated that intolerance of uncertainty and negative problem orientation were key factors in understanding this relationship. We discuss the clinical relevance of these findings in considering the importance of intolerance of uncertainty when assessing for and managing social anxiety in autistic populations.
|Date of Award||15 Sept 2021|
|Supervisor||Punit Shah (Supervisor), Gemma Taylor (Supervisor), Jennifer Allen (Supervisor) & Rachel Paskell (Supervisor)|