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Symptom-level networks of youth- and parent-reported depression and anxiety in a transdiagnostic clinical sample.

UNLABELLED: Depression and anxiety disorders confer a significant public health concern for youth and their co-occurrence places youth at a higher risk for poorer psychosocial outcomes. In the present study, we use network analysis to investigate the role of and interactions among individual depression and anxiety symptoms in a treatment-seeking clinical sample.

METHODS: We estimate regularized partial correlation networks for youth- and parent reported symptoms in a transdiagnostic sample of youth (N = 417, ages 8-18). We examined features of the symptom-level networks such as network stability, centrality, bridge symptoms, and communities in both youth- and parent-reported networks.

RESULTS: Results indicate stable networks with disorder-specific clustering, such that symptoms were more interconnected within compared to between disorders. Symptoms related to self-comparison to peers and negative views of the future were most central in both networks. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were connected by worries for the future and hopelessness in the youth-reported network, whereas self-comparison to peers and low self-efficacy were bridge symptoms in the parent network. Distinct symptom clusters emerged in the parent- and youth-reported networks.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that negative self-evaluation, negative views of the future, and repetitive negative thinking more generally are influential symptoms in the presentation and co-occurrence of depression and anxiety and as such may be promising targets in the treatment and prevention of depression and anxiety in youth.

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