Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder in Youth: Are They Distinguishable?
The current study was designed to examine diagnostic validity of social anxiety disorder (SOC) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in youth, and implications of comorbidity of the disorders for nosology. Children (n = 130) with SOC, GAD, or both disorders (COMORBID) and their parents were administered diagnostic interviews and self-report measures. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) and ANOVAs were performed for the three groups (SOC, GAD, COMORBID). Second-order CFAs for both parent and child informants suggested that SOC and GAD are two specific facets of a general anxiety factor. ANOVA analyses revealed the two pure groups differed only on parent-reported SOC symptoms and GAD worry symptoms, as hypothesized. COMORBID children had higher scores than SOC group on parent-reported GAD symptoms, worry, and behavioral inhibition, and COMORBID children had higher scores than GAD group on parent-reported SOC symptoms and social anxiety. Results may have implications for assessment of GAD and SOC.