Evaluating the external validity of comorbid disorders in youth using rating scales and behavior observations

Ximena Franco, Florida International University

Abstract

To evaluate the theoretical underpinnings of current categorical approaches to classify childhood psychopathological conditions, this dissertation examined whether children with a single diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (ANX only) and children with an anxiety diagnosis comorbid with other diagnoses (i.e., anxiety + anxiety disorder [ANX + ANX], anxiety + depressive disorder [ANX + DEP], and anxiety + disruptive disorder [ANX + EXT]) could be differentiated using external validation criteria of clinical phenomenology (i.e., levels of anxiety, depression, and internalizing, externalizing and total behavior problems). This study further examined whether the four groups could be differentiated in terms of their interaction patterns with their parents and peers, respectively. The sample consisted of 129 youth and their parents who presented to the Child Anxiety and Phobia Program (CAPP) housed within the Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center at Florida International University, Miami. Youth were between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. A battery of questionnaires was used to assess participants' clinical presentation in terms of levels of anxiety, depression, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Family and peer interaction were evaluated through rating scales and through behavior observation tasks. ^ Statistics based on the parameter estimates of the structured equation models indicated that all the comorbid groups were significantly different from the pure anxiety disorder group when it came to depression indices of clinical phenomenology. Further, significant differences appeared mainly in terms of the ANX + DEP comorbid group relative to the other comorbid groups. In terms of Parent-child interaction the ANX + EXT and the ANX + DEP comorbid groups were differentiated from the pure anxiety disorder and ANX + ANX comorbid group when it came to the appraisal of the parent/child relationship by the parent, and the acceptance subscale according to the mother report. In terms of peer-child interaction the ANX + EXT and the ANX + DEP comorbid groups were statistically significantly different from the pure anxiety disorder only when it came to the positive interactions and the social skills as rated by mother. Limitations and future research recommendations are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Franco, Ximena, "Evaluating the external validity of comorbid disorders in youth using rating scales and behavior observations" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3268646.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3268646

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