Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 398–407 | Cite as

Somatic Complaints in Anxious Youth

  • Sarah A. Crawley
  • Nicole E. Caporino
  • Boris Birmaher
  • Golda Ginsburg
  • John Piacentini
  • Anne Marie Albano
  • Joel Sherrill
  • Dara Sakolsky
  • Scott N. Compton
  • Moira Rynn
  • James McCracken
  • Elizabeth Gosch
  • Courtney Keeton
  • John March
  • John T. Walkup
  • Philip C. KendallEmail author
Original Article


This study examined (a) demographic and clinical characteristics associated with physical symptoms in anxiety-disordered youth and (b) the impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy (Coping Cat), medication (sertraline), their combination, and pill placebo on physical symptoms. Youth (N = 488, ages 7–17 years) with a principal diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or social phobia participated as part of a multi-site, randomized controlled trial and received treatment delivered over 12 weeks. Diagnostic status, symptom severity, and impairment were assessed at baseline and week 12. The total number and severity of physical symptoms was associated with age, principal diagnosis, anxiety severity, impairment, and the presence of comorbid internalizing disorders. Common somatic complaints were headaches, stomachaches, head cold or sniffles, sleeplessness, and feeling drowsy or too sleepy. Physical symptoms decreased over the course of treatment, and were unrelated to treatment condition. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed ( number, NCT00052078).


Children Adolescents Anxiety Treatment 



This research was supported by grants (U01 MH064089, to Dr. Walkup; U01 MH64092, to Dr. Albano; U01 MH64003, to Dr. Birmaher; U01 MH63747, to Dr. Kendall, U01 MH64107, to Dr. March; U01 MH64088, to Dr. Piacentini; and U01 MH064003, to Dr. Compton) from the National Institute of Mental Health. Sertraline and matching placebo were supplied free of charge by Pfizer. Views expressed within this article represent those of the authors and are not intended to represent the position of NIMH, NIH, or DHHS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Crawley
    • 1
  • Nicole E. Caporino
    • 1
  • Boris Birmaher
    • 2
  • Golda Ginsburg
    • 3
  • John Piacentini
    • 4
  • Anne Marie Albano
    • 5
  • Joel Sherrill
    • 6
  • Dara Sakolsky
    • 2
  • Scott N. Compton
    • 7
  • Moira Rynn
    • 5
  • James McCracken
    • 4
  • Elizabeth Gosch
    • 8
  • Courtney Keeton
    • 3
  • John March
    • 7
  • John T. Walkup
    • 9
  • Philip C. Kendall
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Division of Services and Intervention ResearchNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  7. 7.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral ServicesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyPhiladelphia College of Osteopathic MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  9. 9.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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