On the physiological symptom constellation in youth with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Philip C. Kendall, Sandra S. Pimentel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


To investigate the physiological symptom constellation of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)/Overanxious Disorder (OAD) in children, the present study examined parent and child reports. Children (N=47; aged 9-13) were evaluated to meet criteria for a diagnosis of GAD. Child physiological symptoms were assessed including: (a) inability to sit still/relax, (b) difficulty paying attention/concentrating, (c) irritability/getting upset easily, (d) muscle aches, and (e) sleep disturbance. Separate child and parent reports were significantly discordant for each of the GAD somatic symptoms. Parents also endorsed significantly more somatic symptoms than their GAD children. Furthermore, 9- to 11-year-olds reported fewer somatic symptoms than 11- to 13-year-olds, whereas the number of parental endorsements of child symptoms remained consistent across child ages. Results of a separate analysis of treatment sensitivity suggest that somatic symptoms were responsive to cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) for anxiety. When assessing GAD in children, discrepancies between parent and child report of somatic symptomatology, as well as a child's age and developmental level, should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Child anxiety
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Somatic symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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