Homotypic versus heterotypic continuity of anxiety symptoms in young adolescents: Evidence for distinctions between DSM-IV subtypes
Objective. To investigate homotypic and heterotypic longitudinal patterns of symptoms of separation anxiety disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia (SoPh), panic disorder (PD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in young adolescents from the Dutch general population. Method. 2,067 individuals (51.4% girls) from a Dutch community sample, who were assessed for the first time when they were aged 10 to 12 years, were followed up across a period of two years. At both assessments, anxiety symptoms were assessed with the RCADS, a self-report questionnaire. Results. Regression analyses indicated that homotypic continuity was relatively high for SAD, GAD, and SoPh symptoms, and for PD in girls. Conclusions. In many studies, anxiety disorders are treated as one group of disorders, and some widely used assessment instruments, such as the Child Behavior Checklist, do not even contain scales that tap different anxiety dimensions. In the present study, evidence for homotypic continuity was found, especially for symptoms of separation, social, and generalized anxiety, and for symptoms of panic disorder in girls, underscoring the usefulness of making distinctions between different anxiety constructs.