The degree to which young children’s anxiety symptoms differentiate according to diagnostic groupings is under-studied, especially in children below the age of 4 years. Theoretical (confirmatory factor analysis, CFA) and statistical (exploratory factor analysis, EFA) analytical methods were employed to test the hypothesis that anxiety symptoms among 2–3-year-old children from a non-clinical, representative sample would differentiate in a manner consistent with current diagnostic nosology. Anxiety symptom items were selected from two norm-referenced parent-report scales of child behavior. CFA and EFA results suggested that anxiety symptoms aggregate in a manner consistent with generalized anxiety, obsessive–compulsive symptoms, separation anxiety, and social phobia. Multi-dimensional models achieved good model fit and fit the data significantly better than undifferentiated models. Results from EFA and CFA methods were predominantly consistent and supported the grouping of early childhood anxiety symptoms into differentiated, diagnostic-specific categories.
Journal of Anxiety Disorders
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mian, N. D., Godoy, L., Briggs-Gowan, M. J. & Carter, A. S. (2012). Patterns of anxiety symptoms in toddlers and preschool-age children: Evidence of early differentiation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26(1), 102-110. Doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.09.006
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