Latent Class Profiles of Anxiety Symptom Trajectories From Preschool Through School Age

Sarah J. Kertz, Chad Sylvester, Rebecca Tillman, Joan L. Luby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Anxiety typically arises early in childhood and decreases during school age. However, little is known about the earlier developmental course of anxiety in preschool, especially in at risk children, posing a clinically important problem. Given that anxiety in youth has a chronic course for some and also predicts later development of other mental health problems, it is important to identify factors early in development that may predict chronic anxiety symptoms. At-risk children (oversampled for depression) and caregivers completed 6 assessment waves beginning at preschool age (between 3–5.11 years of age) up through 6.5 years later. Growth mixture models revealed 4 distinct trajectories: 2 stable groups (high and moderate) and 2 decreasing groups (high and low). Important to note, the high stable anxiety group had greater baseline depression and social adversity/risk, higher average maternal depression over time, and poorer average social functioning over time compared to the high decreasing group. The high decreasing group also had greater externalizing/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder scores than the low decreasing group. Children with anxiety in early childhood who also experience high depression, social adversity/risk, maternal depression, and poor social functioning may be at risk for chronic symptoms over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


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