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Panic disorder and agoraphobia in consecutively referred children and adolescents.

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  • 1Joint Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This report examines the clinical features and correlates of juvenile panic disorder in referred children and adolescents to test specific hypotheses about its relationship with adult panic disorder.

METHOD:

The sample consisted of consecutively referred children and adolescents (N = 472) comprehensively evaluated with structured diagnostic interviews, cognitive tests, and psychosocial assessments.

RESULTS:

Panic disorder was identified in 6% and agoraphobia in 15% of psychiatrically referred children and adolescents. Children meeting criteria for panic disorder also frequently met criteria for agoraphobia. The latter disorder was more prevalent and had an earlier age at onset than panic disorder. Children with panic disorder and those with agoraphobia had similar correlates with frequent comorbidity with other anxiety and mood disorders. A high level of comorbidity with disruptive disorders was also identified.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results support the hypothesis of continuity between the juvenile and the adult form of panic disorder. However, the high level of comorbidity with disruptive behavior disorders also suggests developmentally specific discontinuities between juveniles and adults with panic disorder.

PMID:
9031574
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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