Defense Date

27-8-2009

Graduation Date

2009

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

School Psychology

School

School of Education

Committee Chair

Tammy Hughes

Committee Member

Alison Hipwell

Committee Member

Laura Crothers

Committee Member

Launcelot Brown

Keywords

anxiety, assessment, girls, race, trajectories

Abstract

Although the experience of anxiety among children and adolescents is well documented in the literature, relatively little empirical study has focused on this topic. Existing research is essentially void of studies into gender-specific aspects of anxiety development and maintenance or race-based differences in anxiety symptomatology. The current study sought to fill this gap by examining racial differences in anxiety disorder symptom structure and trajectories among pre-adolescent female youth. Symptom structure was examined among a sample of 570 girls (252 European American, 318 African American) who completed the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED) at nine years of age (M = 9.63, SD = .33). Results of a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) suggested that a five factor structure of the SCARED described the data reasonably well for both European American and African American girls, but that individual items may group differently on the five factors depending on race. Trajectories of anxiety disorder symptoms were assessed among 556 girls (241 European American, 315 African American), on the basis of self-report data obtained via the SCARED over a period of four years, beginning when girls were age nine (M = 9.63, SD = .33). When the overall sample was considered, findings indicated that all five anxiety disorder types assessed (generalized anxiety, panic, school phobia, separation anxiety, social phobia) decreased from age 9-12. Race-based differences in trajectories were evidenced, in that African American girls demonstrated higher initial symptoms levels than their European American counterparts across anxiety subtypes, and had differential rates of growth over time. Results are discussed in the context of existing literature, with practical and research-based implications woven throughout.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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