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Depress Anxiety. 2001;14(2):67-78.

Relation between anxiety and depressive disorders in childhood and adolescence.

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  • 1Child Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Current research indicates that there is a strong relationship between pediatric anxiety disorders and depression. Assessment measures show high rates of correlation between depression and anxiety and much of the overlap may be related to a common domain of negative affectivity. Anxious youth and depressed youth share a cognitive style marked by a negative bias in information processing. Anxiety disorders and depression are frequently comorbid in children and adolescents. About 25-50% of depressed youth have comorbid anxiety disorders and about 10-15% of anxious youth have depression. Twin and family studies have demonstrated that pediatric anxiety disorders and depression likely share some common genetic factors or influences. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown in randomized controlled trials to be efficacious for both pediatric depression and anxiety disorders. Integrating the treatment literature with studies of phenomenology, biology and genetics indicates that pediatric anxiety disorders and depression may share a genetically determined neurobiological component that could involve neural circuits that include or are modulated by serotonergic neurons. This component could contribute to the negative affective temperament that appears to be common in both pediatric depression and anxiety disorders.

Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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