Background: This study investigates whether anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms of adolescents from the general community are best described by a model that assumes they are indicative of one general factor or by a model that assumes they are two distinct disorders with parallel growth processes. Additional analyses were conducted to explore the comorbidity of adolescent anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms and the effects that adolescent anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms have on each other's symptom severity growth. Methods: Two cohorts of early (N = 923; Age range 10–15 years; Mean age = 12.4, SD = .59; Girls = 49%) and middle adolescent (N = 390; Age range 16–20 years; Mean age = 16.7, SD = .80; Girls = 57%) boys and girls from the general community were prospectively studied annually for five years. These two adolescent cohorts were divided into five groups: one group at-risk for developing a specific anxiety disorder and four additional groups of healthy adolescents that differed in age and sex. Self-reported anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms were analyzed with latent growth modeling. Results: Comparison of the fit statistics of the two models clearly demonstrates the superiority of the distinct disorders with parallel growth processes model above the one factor model. It was also demonstrated that the initial symptom severity of either anxiety or depression is predictive of the development of the other, though in different ways for the at-risk and healthy adolescent groups. Conclusions: The results of this study established that the development of anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms of adolescents from the general community occurs as two distinct disorders with parallel growth processes, each with their own unique growth characteristics.

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Keywords Adolescents, anxiety, depression, development, latent growth modeling, parallel growth
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02115.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/17473
Citation
Hale, W.W., III, Raaijmakers, Q.A.W., Muris, P.E.H.M., van Hoof, J.T.C., & Meeus, W.. (2009). One factor or two parallel processes? Comorbidity and development of adolescents' anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms.. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 50(10), 1218–1226. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02115.x