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Arch Gen Psychiatry. This study prospectively examines the magnitude of longitudinal associations between adolescent and adult anxiety or depressive disorders. The magnitude of the association between adolescent and adult anxiety or depressive disorders was quantified using odds ratios generated from logistic regression analyses and from a set of latent Markov analyses.
We focus on longitudinal associations among narrowly defined DSM anxiety or depressive disorders. There was evidence of specificity in the course of simple and social phobia but less specificity in the course of other disorders. Results from the analyses using latent variables suggested that while most adolescent disorders were no longer present in young adulthood, most adult disorders were preceded by adolescent disorders.
Most anxiety and depressive disorders in young adults may be preceded by anxiety or depression in adolescence. Such relationships have been explored from various perspectives, including family-based, 7 , 8 biological, 9 , 10 pharmacologic, 11 - 13 and longitudinal approaches. This report addresses 2 limitations in longitudinal research on the associations between adolescent and adult anxiety or depressive disorders. First, few studies have quantified the magnitude of such associations by prospectively observing adolescents as they transition into adulthood, and much of the available research is in clinical 14 - 18 rather than epidemiological 19 - 22 samples.
Because referral biases limit the generalizability of clinic-based studies, prospective studies in epidemiological samples may better characterize the course of adolescent disorders.
This study uses epidemiological data to address these 2 limitations. While prior reports on the sample discussed the cross-sectional relationships among disorders 25 and the stability of disorders across adolescence, 26 this report examines relationships between adolescent and early adult anxiety or depressive disorders. The main goal of the report is to test 4 hypotheses on the nature of associations among adolescent and adult disorders.