This study examined (a) demographic and clinical characteristics associated with physical symptoms in anxiety-disordered youth and (b) the impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy (Coping Cat), medication (sertraline), their combination, and pill placebo on physical symptoms. Youth (N = 488, ages 7-17 years) with a principal diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or social phobia participated as part of a multi-site, randomized controlled trial and received treatment delivered over 12 weeks. Diagnostic status, symptom severity, and impairment were assessed at baseline and week 12. The total number and severity of physical symptoms was associated with age, principal diagnosis, anxiety severity, impairment, and the presence of comorbid internalizing disorders. Common somatic complaints were headaches, stomachaches, head cold or sniffles, sleeplessness, and feeling drowsy or too sleepy. Physical symptoms decreased over the course of treatment, and were unrelated to treatment condition. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00052078).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health