Anxiety is among the most impairing conditions associated with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and is putatively linked to atypical physiological arousal. However, few studies have examined this association in young children with FXS. The authors examined whether patterns of arousal and behavior during an experimental stranger approach paradigm differ between a cross-sectional sample of 21 young children with FXS and 19 controls (12–58 months old). Groups did not differ in mean levels of behavioral fear. Unlike the control group, however, the FXS group demonstrated increased facial fear at older ages, as well as age-dependent changes in associations between heart activity and distress vocalizations. These findings may inform theoretical models of anxiety etiology in FXS and early detection efforts.

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