Objective: To assess the influence of psychiatric comorbidity on social skill treatment outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
Methods: A community sample of 83 children (74 males, 9 females) with an ASD (mean age = 9.5 yr; SD = 1.2) and common comorbid disorders participated in 10-week social skills training groups. The first 5 weeks of the group focused on conversation skills and the second 5 weeks focused on social problem solving skills. A concurrent parent group was also included in the treatment. Social skills were assessed using the Social Skills Rating System. Ratings were completed by parents at pre- and posttreatment time periods.
Results: Children with ASD and children with an ASD and comorbid anxiety disorder improved in their parent reported social skills. Children with ASD and comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder failed to improve.
Conclusion: Psychiatric comorbidity affects social skill treatment gains in the ASD population.