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Children and adolescents referred for treatment of anxiety disorders: differences in clinical characteristics

Waite, P. and Creswell, C. (2014) Children and adolescents referred for treatment of anxiety disorders: differences in clinical characteristics. Journal of Affective Disorders, 167. pp. 326-332. ISSN 0165-0327

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.028

Abstract/Summary

Background: Reports of the clinical characteristics of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders are typically based on community populations or from clinical samples with exclusion criterion applied. Little is known about the clinical characteristics of children and adolescents routinely referred for treatment for anxiety disorders. Furthermore, children and adolescents are typically treated as one homogeneous group although they may differ in ways that are clinically meaningful. Methods: A consecutive series of children (n = 100, aged 6-12 years) and adolescents (n = 100, aged 13-18 years), referred to a routine clinical service, were assessed for anxiety and comorbid disorders, school refusal and parental symptoms of psychopathology. Results: Children were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder than adolescents. Adolescents with a primary anxiety disorder had significantly higher self and clinician rated anxiety symptoms and had more frequent primary diagnoses of social anxiety disorder, diagnoses and symptoms of mood disorders, and irregular school attendance. Limitations: Childhood and adolescence were considered categorically as distinct, developmental periods; in reality changes would be unlikely to occur in such a discrete manner. Conclusions: The finding that children and adolescents with anxiety disorders have distinct clinical characteristics has clear implications for treatment. Simply adapting treatments designed for children to make the materials more ‘adolescent-friendly’ is unlikely to sufficiently meet the needs of adolescents.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Winnicott
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY)
ID Code:36949
Uncontrolled Keywords:anxiety, childhood, adolescence, diagnoses, comorbidities
Publisher:Elsevier

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