The presentation of anxiety in children with pervasive developmental disorders.
ABSTRACT Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV) diagnostic criteria generally discourage the diagnosis of other Axis I disorders in children with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), anxiety symptoms are often observed in this clinical population. Moreover, there are some albeit limited data that suggest an association between anxiety and psychotic symptoms in children. Because co-occurring psychiatric symptoms have important clinical implications, this study examined anxiety and psychotic symptoms in children with and without PDD.
Parents and teachers completed the Early Childhood Inventory-4 (ECI-4) or the Child Symptom Inventory (CSI-4) for children evaluated in a developmental disabilities clinic (PDD) or a child psychiatry outpatient clinic (non-PDD). Children were divided into four groups: 3-5- year-olds with (n = 182) and without (n = 135) PDD, and 6-12-year-olds with (n = 301) and without (n = 191) PDD. The 6-12-year-olds were further divided into high-anxious and low-anxious subgroups based on CSI-4 ratings and compared with regard to severity of psychotic symptoms.
Teachers rated preschoolers with PDD as exhibiting more severe anxiety symptoms than the non-PDD group; however, the converse was true for parent ratings. For 6-12- year-olds, both parents and teachers rated children with PDD as significantly more anxious than non-PDD clinic referrals. In general, the severity of anxiety symptoms varied by PDD subtype (Asperger's disorder > PDDNOS > Autistic disorder) and IQ (high > low). Furthermore, highly anxious 6-12-year-olds with PDD received significantly higher parent and teacher ratings of psychotic symptom severity (strange behaviors, hearing voices, illogical thinking, inappropriate affect, and odd thoughts) than our low-anxious group, even when controlling for PDD symptom severity. Moreover, the relation between anxiety level and psychotic symptom severity was similar for both PDD and non-PDD children. Parent and teachers differed in their perceptions of the severity of specific anxiety symptoms. In addition, parent- versus teacher-defined anxiety level groups varied with regard to the differential severity of psychotic symptoms. This finding highlights the importance of continued investigation of source-specific syndromes in children with PDD. Two case vignettes are presented.
Anxiety appears to be a clinically important concern in many children with PDD. Similarities in anxiety symptom presentation and their association with psychotic symptoms in both children with and without PDD support the possibility of: (1) psychiatric comorbidity in the former; (2) at least some overlap in causal mechanisms for anxiety and psychotic symptoms in both PDD and non-PDD children; and (3) a unique diagnostic entity comprised of PDD, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms. Lastly, clinicians should seriously consider dual diagnoses in children with PDD.
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ABSTRACT: To determine any variation that might occur due to the type of assessment and source used to assess them, the prevalence of 7 anxiety disorders were investigated in a sample of 140 boys with an Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 50 non-ASD (NASD) boys via the Child and Adolescent Symptom Inventory and the KIDSCID Clinical Interview. Boys with an ASD were significantly more anxious than their NASD peers. Data collected from the boys with an ASD themselves showed differences in the severity and diagnostic criterion of anxiety disorders to data collected from the boys’ parents. There were age-related variations to the pattern of anxiety disorder differences across reports from the boys with an ASD and reports from their parents.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 12/2014; · 3.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Youth with autism spectrum disorder often struggle to cope with co-occurring anxiety, depression, or anger, and having both internalizing and externalizing symptoms is a common clinical presentation. A number of authors have designed cognitive-behavioral interventions to address transdiagnostic factors related to multiple emotional problems, although none have applied this focus to youth with ASD. The current review article describes how a transdiagnostic emotion regulation framework may inform cognitive-behavioral interventions for youth with ASD, which until now have focused almost exclusively on anxiety. Research is needed to empirically test how a transdiagnostic intervention can address the processes of emotion regulation and assist youth with ASD to cope with their emotional disorders.Clinical Psychology Science and Practice 12/2014; 21(4):331–350. · 2.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although there are reported differences in child vs parent-ratings of children’s anxiety in the wider population, no reports have been published of these differences across age groups in children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study investigated the extent and nature of parent–child disagreement on ratings of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in a sample of 140 high-functioning boys with an ASD aged 6 to 18 years and one of their parents. Results indicated that, after a peak at ages 7 to 8 years, GAD decreased for ages 9 to 18 years. There were statistically significant differences between parents’ and sons’ ratings for the total GAD score and for several of the individual GAD symptoms, although the clinical impact of those differences was limited. Some minor variation in those differences was present according to the age of the boys with an ASD. Suggestions are made for the valid assessment of GAD in boys with an ASD.Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 01/2014; · 0.89 Impact Factor