High Rates of Anxiety Among Adolescents in a Partial Hospitalization Program

Michelle Pelcovitz*, Shannon Bennett, Payal Desai, Jennifer Schild, Renae Beaumont, John Walkup, David Shaffer, Angela Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Anxiety disorders are garnering increasing attention for their contribution to high-risk issues and functional impairment. Adolescents are typically admitted to partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) due to high-risk presentations. However, the frequency of anxiety disorders in PHPs is not well-established, in part because anxiety can be overlooked in acute settings due to limited lengths of stay and focus on stabilization. Objective: This study aims to evaluate the frequency and severity of anxiety disorders among a sample of adolescent PHP patients to assess the need for anxiety-specific assessment and interventions in higher acuity settings. Methods: Participants were 158 youths ages 13 to 19 years old (M = 15.49 years, SD = 1.50) who were admitted to an adolescent PHP and their caregivers. Clinician-reported diagnostic information was collected from the youth’s electronic medical record, and self- and caregiver-rated severity of anxiety was collected using the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotions Disorders (SCARED-C/P). Frequency of anxiety and related disorder diagnoses and self- and caregiver-reported severity were assessed using descriptive statistical methods. Results: 75% of participants were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (n = 118). On average, participants with anxiety disorders had elevated SCARED-C scores. Youths with depressive disorders had elevated SCARED-C scores even when they did not carry anxiety disorder diagnoses. Caregiver ratings of the youth’s anxiety symptoms on the SCARED-P were elevated when youths had anxiety disorders. Conclusions: These findings suggest that anxiety is common in an adolescent PHP setting and support investing in evidence-based assessment and treatment of anxiety in high-acuity settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Acute care
  • Adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • Symptom severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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