Social Anxiety And Avoidance Behaviors

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Moreover, White et al. (2014) explain that deficits in ER impact behavioral factors that have been shown to cause anxiety manifestations. These ER deficits contribute to anxiety symptoms in that conditioning and avoidance behaviors are impaired. The inability to control emotion related to distress or fear contributes to conditioned fear responses. These conditioned fears perpetuate the necessity to engage in avoidance behaviors, which is core feature of social anxiety and is classified as a maladaptive ER strategy. Sensory issued in individuals with ASD have long been thought to be linked to anxiety, and White et al. state, “sensory symptoms correlate with anxiety severity in children with ASD” (2014). Sensory issues in anxious individuals with ASD are likely linked to hyper-vigilance to their environment, as well as the potential for an additional common causal factor such as functional abnormalities in the amygdala. This is due to the role of the amygdala, integrating and responding to sensory input relating to perceived threats. While not all individuals with ASD experience hyper-arousal of sensory pathways, this over-responsivity provides preliminary evidence that directly links sensory issued to anxiety (White, et al., 2014). Diverting from factors of which have been shown to potentially contribute to the appearance of anxiety in individuals with ASD, additional research has been done to explore the notion that common ASD features directly result from comorbid anxiety.
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