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‘Intolerance of Uncertainty’ mediates the relationship between social profile and anxiety in both Williams Syndrome and autism

South, M. and Hanley, M. and Normansell-Mossa, K. and Russell, N. C. C. and Cawthorne, T. and Riby, D. M. (2021) '‘Intolerance of Uncertainty’ mediates the relationship between social profile and anxiety in both Williams Syndrome and autism.', Autism research., 14 (9). pp. 1986-1995.

Abstract

Anxiety is the most significant mental health concern for both Williams syndrome (WS) and autism. Whilst WS and autism are characterised by some syndrome-specific social differences, less is known about cross-syndrome profiles of anxiety symptoms. Previous research has shown that Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) is a core mechanism of anxiety maintenance for clinically anxious populations and for autistic children, adolescents, and adults. The only published study in this area for WS (Uljarević et al., 2018) has shown some similar patterns – with an added emphasis on the role of sensory sensitivities -- in a sample of older teens and adults (mean age =24), with the authors highlighting the need for younger samples to consider developmental influences. Here we report a cross-syndrome, cross-sectional mediation analyses of children diagnosed with WS or autism, including data from parent surveys of 90 children with WS (n=48) or autism (n=42). Group differences showed higher trait levels on all measures for the autism group. Importantly, the relationship between social profile and anxiety was fully mediated by IU level for both groups. This suggests possible similar core mechanisms underlying anxiety in these conditions, and the possibility of generalised intervention approaches especially related to managing distress related to uncertainty in multiple contexts.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2554
Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: South, Mikle, Hanley, Mary, Normansell-Mossa, Karys, Russell, Nicholas C. C., Cawthorne, Thomas & Riby, Deborah M. (2021). ‘Intolerance of Uncertainty’ mediates the relationship between social profile and anxiety in both Williams Syndrome and autism. Autism Research 14(9): 1986-1995., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2554. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Date accepted:18 May 2021
Date deposited:01 June 2021
Date of first online publication:10 June 2021
Date first made open access:10 June 2022

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