Anxiety Disorders in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Study

Victoria Nimmo-Smith, Hein Heuvelman, Christina Dalman, Michael Lundberg, Selma Idring, Peter Carpenter, Cecilia Magnusson, Dheeraj Rai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
209 Downloads (Pure)


Anxiety is common in children with ASD; however, the burden of specific anxiety disorders for adults with ASD is under-researched. Using the Stockholm Youth Cohort, we compared anxiety disorder diagnoses among autistic adults (n = 4049), with or without intellectual disability, and population controls (n = 217,645). We conducted additional sibling analyses. Anxiety disorders were diagnosed in 20.1% of adults with ASD compared with 8.7% of controls (RR = 2.62 [95% CI 2.47-2.79]), with greatest risk for autistic people without intellectual disability. Rates of almost all individual anxiety disorders were raised, notably obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders were more common in full siblings and half-siblings of people with ASD. The implications of this are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Anxiety
  • Mental health
  • Epidemiology


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