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Assessing Anxiety in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

What's the study about?

Assessing Anxiety in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ADORA Study) is a NIMH-funded study aimed at understanding the physiological underpinnings of anxiety in autistic and nonautistic youth.

Who can participate?

Adolescents aged 11 – 14 years old who are English speaking and able to understand and respond to questionnaires

What will participants be doing?

Participation in the ADORA Study involves:

1) One in-person visit to the University of Maryland (College Park) for you and your child which will last between 2-2.5 hours. During this visit, your child will answer some questions about themselves and complete some activities with a researcher. We will also ask you to complete a set of questionnaires on an iPad. At the end of the visit, we will enroll your child in Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), in which they will receive short surveys sent to their phone via text message for 5 days. We will also teach them how to wear a heart rate monitor band and collect a 5-minute baseline wearing the heart rate monitor. Your family will be compensated up to $30 ($10 per hour) for this visit.

2) The same evening your child completes the visit at UMD, we will ask that they complete a 5-minute at-home baseline wearing their heart rate monitor, followed by 2 days completing 5-minutes of baseline heart rate monitoring. Your child will receive $5 per day, up to $15 if they complete all three days of baseline RSA data collection. For each day your child wears the heart rate monitor band during the EMA period (5.5 hours per day) your family will be compensated $20, for a total of up to $100 for the five days.

3) Finally, we will ask that your child wear the heart rate monitor for 5.5 hours for the 5 days they are receiving EMA text surveys (5-6 texts per day). For the EMA surveys, compensation varies daily based on the number of questions completed. If your child completes at least one prompt per day, you will receive $6 for that day. This amount can increase to up to $10 depending on the percentage of questions completed. For example, if your child completes 60% of the questions prompted that day, you will then earn $6 for that day, 80% you will earn $8, 100% you will earn $10. This would be a possible maximum of $50 throughout the EMA portion.

4) Parents of autistic youth will complete one additional virtual visit prior to the in-person visit to confirm a research diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, Dr. Yarger, will complete the Autism Diagnostic Interview. This interview alone does not mean your child does or does not have a diagnosis of autism; however, it is what we are using for inclusion in our study. This interview will ask you questions about your child’s early developmental history (e.g., language milestones, motor milestones), their social and communication functioning around the ages of 4 to 5, and their current social and communication functioning. You would earn up to $30 for this visit ($10 per hour).

Why is this important?

Identifying times that individuals feel anxious may help refine interventions at helping reduce anxiety symptoms, as well as identify ways for non-speaking individuals’ anxiety to be assessed.

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