Children With Co-Occurring Anxiety and Externalizing Disorders: Family Risks and Implications for Competence

Joan P. Yoo, Pamela J. Brown, Suniya S. Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study used data from 340 mother-child dyads to examine characteristics of children with co-occurring diagnoses of anxiety and externalizing disorders and compared them with children with a sole diagnosis or no diagnosis. Comparisons were made using 4 child-diagnostic groups: anxiety-only, externalizing-only, co-occurrence, and no-problem groups. Most mothers were characterized by low income and histories of psychiatric diagnoses during the child's lifetime. Analyses using multinomial logistic regressions found the incidence of co-occurring childhood disorders to be significantly linked with maternal affective/anxiety disorders during the child's lifetime. In exploring implications for developmental competence, we found the co-occurrence group to have the lowest level of adaptive functioning among the 4 groups, faring significantly worse than the no-problem group on both academic achievement and intelligence as assessed by standardized tests. Findings underscore the importance of considering co-occurring behavior problems as a distinct phenomenon when examining children's developmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-540
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Co-occurring psychiatric disorders
  • Externalizing disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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