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J Anxiety Disord. 2013 Jan;27(1):116-24. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Quality of attachment relationships and peer relationship dysfunction among late adolescents with and without anxiety disorders.

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Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Little is known about the links between anxiety disorders and parent-child attachment disorganization and quality of peer relationships in late adolescence. This study examined the quality of attachment and peer relationships among adolescents with and without anxiety disorders in a sample of 109 low- to moderate-income families. Psychopathology was assessed with the SCID-I. Attachment disorganization and dysfunction in peer relationships were measured using semi-structured interviews and behavioral observations. Adolescents with anxiety disorders and comorbid conditions showed higher levels of attachment disorganization across three measurement approaches, as well as higher levels of dysfunction in peer relationships than those with no Axis I diagnosis. Adolescents without anxiety disorders but with other Axis I disorders differed only in the quality of school relationships from those with no diagnoses. The pattern of results suggests that pathological anxiety, in the context of other comorbidities, may be a marker for more pervasive levels of social impairment.

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