Screening for anxiety disorders in children.

E. Simon*, S. Bögels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and have negative consequences on individual and societal level. This study examined the usefulness of screening for anxiety disorders in primary school children. More specifically, the value of the screening method to discriminate between and to predict anxiety disorders was studied. Children and their parents were selected if the children had self-reported scores on the screening questionnaire Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders-71 (SCARED-71) within the top-15% (High-anxious) or from two points below to two points above the median (Median-anxious). Of the selected children, 183 high-anxious children and their parents, and 80 median-anxious children and their parents took part in a diagnostic interview, the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS). Of the high-anxious children, 60% had an anxiety disorder versus 23% of the median-anxious children, whereas groups did not differ on rates of dysthymia/depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The diagnoses separation anxiety disorder, social phobia and specific phobia were specifically predicted by the corresponding subscales of the screening questionnaire, while the diagnosis generalised anxiety disorder was not predicted by any of the subscales. The screening method has proven its utility for discriminating between children with and without anxiety disorders when applying the top-15% cut-off. Moreover, separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, and specific phobia, all known to be prevalent and debilitating childhood anxiety disorders, can be predicted by the corresponding subscale of the screening instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-634
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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