- Dimensional assessment of anxiety disorders in parents and children for DSM-5
- International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 23 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The current shift in the DSM towards the inclusion of a dimensional component allows clinicians and researchers to demonstrate not only the presence or absence of psychopathology in an individual, but also the degree to which the disorder and its symptoms are manifested. This study evaluated the psychometric properties and utility of a set of brief dimensional scales that assess DSM-based core features of anxiety disorders, for children and their parents. The dimensional scales and the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED-71), a questionnaire to assess symptoms of all anxiety disorders, were administered to a community sample of children (n = 382), aged 8-13 years, and their mothers (n = 285) and fathers (n = 255). The dimensional scales assess six anxiety disorders: specific phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Children rated their own anxiety and parents their child's anxiety. The dimensional scales demonstrated high internal consistency (α > 0.78, except for father reported child panic disorder, for reason of lack of variation), and moderate to high levels of convergent validity (rs = 0.29-0.73). Children who exceeded the SCARED cutoffs scored higher on the dimensional scales than those who did not, providing preliminary support for the clinical sensitivity of the scales. Given their strong psychometric properties and utility for both child and parent report, addition of the dimensional scales to the DSM-5 might be an effective way to incorporate dimensional measurement into the categorical DSM-5 assessment of anxiety disorders in children.
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