Comparison of behavioral profiles for anxiety-related comorbidities including ADHD and selective mutism in children

Tal Levin-Decanini, Sucheta D. Connolly, David Simpson, Liza Suarez, Suma Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Background Elucidating differences in social-behavioral profiles of children with comorbid presentations, utilizing caregiver as well as teacher reports, will refine our understanding of how contextual symptoms vary across anxiety-related disorders. Methods In our pediatric anxiety clinic, the most frequent diagnoses and comorbidities were mixed anxiety (MA; ≥ 1 anxiety disorder; N = 155), anxiety with comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (MA/ADHD, N = 47) and selective mutism (SM, N = 48). Behavioral measures (CPRS, CTRS) were analyzed using multiple one-way multivariate analyses of covariance tests. Differences between the three diagnostic groups were examined using completed parent and teacher reports (N = 135, 46, and 48 for MA, MA/ADHD, and SM groups, respectively). Results Comparisons across the MA, MA/ADHD, and SM groups indicate a significant multivariate main effect of group for caregiver and teacher responses (P < 0.01). Caregivers reported that children with SM are similar in profile to those with MA, and both groups were significantly different from the MA/ADHD group. Teachers reported that children with SM had more problems with social behaviors than with the MA or MA/ADHD groups. Further comparison indicates a significant main effect of group (P < 0.001), such that children with SM have the greatest differences in behavior observed by teachers versus caregivers. Conclusions Clinical profiles between MA/ADHD, MA, and SM groups varied, illustrating the importance of multi-rater assessment scales to capture subtle distinctions and to inform treatment planning given that comorbidities occur frequently in children who present with anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • anxiety disorders
  • school children
  • selective mutism

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