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Anxiety in Early Adolescence: Heterogeneous Developmental Trajectories, Associations with Risk Factors and Depressive Symptoms

Abstract

This study aimed: (1) to identify heterogeneous trajectories of anxiety symptoms in early adolescence; (2) to analyze the relationships between risk factors and identified trajectories; (3) to study the association between anxiety symptom trajectories and depression symptom course. Anxiety and depressive symptoms of 825 participants (44.40% boys; mean initial age = 13.01, SD = 0.56) was assessed every 6 months over an 18-month period. Trajectory identification relied on latent-variable approach. As a result, 2–4 trajectories were identified for social phobia (SP), generalized anxiety (GA) and panic symptoms, revealing at least a low-symptom course and a trajectory of elevated symptoms (at-risk trajectory). Being girl and sibling cohabitation were related to at-risk trajectories, and a course of low effortful control and heightened negative affectivity. Finally, SP and GA symptoms were related to heightened depressive symptom courses. Relevant implications towards tailored prevention and intervention are highlighted to promote a healthy development across adolescence.

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Funding

This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness Grants Ref. PSI2012-34780 and PSI2016-78403-P.

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Correspondence to Alejandro de la Torre-Luque.

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de la Torre-Luque, A., Fiol-Veny, A., Balle, M. et al. Anxiety in Early Adolescence: Heterogeneous Developmental Trajectories, Associations with Risk Factors and Depressive Symptoms. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-019-00936-y

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Keywords

  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Development
  • Temperament
  • Adolescence
  • Growth mixture modeling