Counteracting Anxiety, Depression, and Social Withdrawal in College

Success for Autism in Higher Education

Researchers investigated possible predictors of first year success for college students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

college success

Eleven freshmen students enrolled at two universities. Each student received specialized supports for ASD at their respective colleges and participated in periodic assessments of social, emotional, and academic functioning. Investigators examined factors related to academic achievement, levels of anxiety and depression, life satisfaction, college adjustment, and social functioning.

Initial results of this ongoing investigation demonstrated:

  • Adjustment to college was negatively correlated with internalizing symptoms (such as anxiety and depression, and social withdrawal). Students with higher levels of internalizing made poorer adjustments to college
  • Students with higher levels of internalizing symptoms also rated themselves lower in terms of life satisfaction
  • Students with higher levels of anxiety and depression at the beginning of college had lower mid-term GPAs
  • Students who reported better adjustments to college had higher GPAs

Because anxiety and depression are highly correlated with a number of negative outcomes in the study (such as lower grades, life satisfaction, and social adjustment) investigators identified early “screening for and targeting symptoms of anxiety and depression through therapeutic interventions” as critical to supporting college students with ASD.

Further, investigators concluded that college students with ASD may benefit from specialized supports at the beginning of their transition into college, as students who struggle to adjust in college may experience internalizing symptoms and academic difficulty.

Lead investigators presented this information as a poster session at the 2010 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), held during the International Society for Autism Research conference in Philadelphia, PA. Information from the session may be found at this link:

https://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper7332.html

by Dr. Marc Ellison

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Jennifer Allen

After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.

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One thought on “Counteracting Anxiety, Depression, and Social Withdrawal in College

  1. Even students without disabilities feel anxiety in some sort of their education period.Then what about the students with disabilities? However, I strongly believe that sound inerventions can result in positive outcomes. Given the right support, people with autism can make gains at any point in their lives.