Early-childhood trajectories of separation anxiety : bearing on mental health, academic achievement, and physical health from mid-childhood to pre-adolescence

Authors: Battaglia, Marco M.Boivin, MichelGaron-Carrier, GabrielleDionne, GinetteCôté, SylvanaTouchette, Évelyne; Vitaro, Frank; Tremblay, Richard Ernest
Abstract: Background: Separation anxiety disorder is the most prevalent childhood anxiety condition, but no study assessed children for separation anxiety at pre-school age and followed them longitudinally and directly until mid-childhood/early adolescence. Methods: Multi-informant (children, teachers, family), multi-point (at age 8, 10, 12, 13) assessments of 1290 children of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, who had been categorized between age 1.5 and 6 into 4 specific separation anxiety trajectories (1-Low-Persistent, 2-Low-Increasing, 3-High-Decreasing, and the less common: 4-High-Increasing) by growth mixture modeling. Participants in the High-Increasing trajectory were compared to participants in the other 3 trajectories for: a) child’s internalizing and externalizing problem behavior; b) physical health; c) academic achievement; d) maternal anxiety. Results: Multivariate analyses of variance/covariance at separate time points showed the High-Increasing trajectory mostly associated with: a) higher internalizing, but not externalizing, behavior; b) worse academic achievement (most consistently by comparisons to the normative Low-Persistent trajectory; c) higher rates of maternal panic/agoraphobic anxiety; d) worse physical health (most consistently by comparisons to the Low-Persistent trajectory). The High-Increasing trajectory had 2- to 3 fold higher incidences of physical illnesses than the normative Low-Persistent group; this was specific for headaches at age 12 years, chronic asthma at age 10 and 13, and having received asthma-related medication during the past 12 months. Conclusions: High-increasing separation anxiety in preschool maintains longitudinal relationships to independent health and academic outcomes, at least until pre-adolescence. This knowledge can inform the deployment of clinical resources at the earlier signs of the more impairing manifestations.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 18 August 2017
Open Access Date: 18 August 2018
Document version: AM
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/15041
This document was published in: Depression and Anxiety
Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Alternative version: 10.1002/da.22674
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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