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J Asthma. 1998;35(5):409-17.

Psychological and family characteristics of adolescents with vocal cord dysfunction.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80206, USA.


Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is a respiratory disorder often confused with asthma. Although previous case reports have implicated family and/or individual psychopathology in the etiology of this condition, this is the first paper to present prospective, case-control empirical data on a group of pediatric patients with VCD. A case-control methodology was employed to examine patients in terms of both family and individual functioning. Results indicate that patients with VCD were not different from asthmatic controls on measures of family functioning. However, they did experience significantly higher levels of anxiety and received a higher number of anxiety-related diagnoses such as separation anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder on a structured psychiatric interview. The nature of the relation between VCD and psychological symptoms in children is discussed. Etiologic and treatment issues are examined in the context of the findings.

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