Course and short-term outcomes of separation anxiety disorder in a community sample of twins

Debra L. Foley, Andrew Pickles, Hermine M. Maes, Judy L. Silberg, Lindon J. Eaves

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Objective: To assess the course and short-term outcomes associated with separation anxiety disorder (SAD) in a community setting. Method: The subjects were 161 of 2,061 8- to 17-year-old twins with SAD from a community-based twin study. Subjects were born between 1974 and 1983. Subjects and parents were personally interviewed about the subject's current psychiatric history between 1990 and 1993. A follow-up interview was conducted, on average, 18 months later. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors and outcomes of persistent SAD. Results: Of the 161 subjects with SAD at time 1, 80% had remitted and 59% were free of any disorder at follow-up. Children with persistent SAD had a significantly higher prevalence of oppositional defiant disorder, significantly more impairment associated with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and mothers who were less satisfied with their marriage at time 1 than children with transient episodes. Children with persistent SAD had a significantly higher prevalence of overanxious disorder or a new minor or major depressive disorder at time 2 than children with transient SAD. After controlling for comorbidity, only an elevated risk of new depressive disorders at time 2 distinguished children with persistent SAD. Conclusions: Many children with SAD in a community setting are well at follow-up, on average, 18 months later. A minority of children with persistent SAD are at significantly increased risk of a new depressive disorder, especially those with a history of oppositional defiant disorder, impairment associated with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or parental marital difficulties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1107-1114
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    Volume43
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004

    Keywords

    • Anxiety
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Prospective study
    • Separation

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