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Social phobia and overanxious disorder in school-age children.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, PA.


Epidemiological data indicate that, based on current diagnostic criteria, anxiety disorders are the most common childhood disorders. Furthermore, the comorbidity rate among the various diagnostic categories is quite high, and relatively little attention has been given to delineating the specific and distinct parameters of these disorders. The current study examined the characteristics of overanxious disorder and social phobia by comparing children who have these disorders to matched normal controls. The results indicated that children with social phobia could be differentiated from the other groups, based on self-report inventories, daily diary data, and a psychophysiological assessment. However, there were few variables that distinguished overanxious children. The results provide strong support for the diagnostic validity of social phobia in children but lesser support for overanxious disorder as currently defined.

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