Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2024; 9(2):3-8

Fear, anxiety and nervousness in children with autism

Veronika Ivanova
Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov” – Varna

Abstract. In this article, an attempt is made to highlight the main parameters and characteristics of fear, nervousness and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders and the relationships with other features of the disorder. A study was conducted using the methodology CARS 2 and a checklist for monitoring anxiety behavior in children with autism. The sample consisted of 60 children aged 2 to 16 years, diagnosed with autism in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic in the University Hospital “Sveta Marina”, Varna. Reliability was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (.87). Internal reliabilities for each of the 15 scales ranged from .45 to .84 with a standard deviation of .62. Correlation analysis showed statistically significant correlations between anxiety and nervousness with overall severity of the disorder (.83), as well as with adaptive skills (.42) and nonverbal communication (.44). It was found that children with moderate and high anxiety expressed more than two of the anxiety behaviors described in the checklist. The survey conducted with parents revealed that the presence of a person with whom the children feel safe is the main factor for calming down.

Key words: fear, anxiety, autism

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