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Comorbid depressive disorders in anxiety-disordered youth: demographic, clinical, and family characteristics.

Research indicates that depression and anxiety are highly comorbid in youth. Little is known, however, about the clinical and family characteristics of youth with principal anxiety disorders and comorbid depressive diagnoses. The present study examined the demographic, clinical, and family characteristics of 200 anxiety-disordered children and adolescents (aged 7-17) with and without comorbid depressive disorders (major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder), seeking treatment at a university-based anxiety clinic. All participants met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for a principal anxiety disorder (generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or social phobia). Of these, twelve percent (n = 24) also met criteria for a comorbid depressive disorder. Results suggest that anxiety-disordered youth with comorbid depressive disorders (AD-DD) were older at intake, had more severe anxious and depressive symptomatology, and were more impaired than anxiety-disordered youth without comorbid depressive disorders (AD-NDD). AD-DD youth also reported significantly more family dysfunction than AD-NDD youth. Future research should examine how this diagnostic and family profile may impact treatment for AD-DD youth.

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