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Demographic and Clinical Characteristics in Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder

Kültür SEÇ, Tiryaki A, Ünal F.

Abstract
Objective: Primary feature of separation anxiety disorder is being overanxious due to separation from home or people to whom the child is attached. The goal of this article is to investigate the demographic and clinical characteristics of separation anxiety disorder. Method: Children who applied to Hacettepe University Medical Faculty Child Psychiatry Department between 1982 and 1992 have been evaluated retrospectively. Along with demographic features of these children several clinical variables were considered in this article. Results: The mean age of the children when the first complaints were appeared was 7.7±2.9 years. It was found that the most common referral symptom was school refusal (53%, n:88). Somatic complaints were seen in 19 % of children (n:33) as a chief complaint. Somatic complaints were more common in girls than in boys (p:0.015). The ratio of delayed diagnosis was higher in children with somatic complaints than others (p:0.015). Irregular attendance at school was more frequent in children whose mothers were housewifes (p:0.01). Conclusions: The results of the study indicates that the clinical expression of Separation Anxiety Disorder might be effected with environmental factors like the occcupational status of mother. It was concluded that the delay in the diagnosis of children with somatic complaints could be prevented through increased awareness of the physicians about this disorder. It was suggested that future studies should focus on risk factors and treatment of separation anxiety disorder.

Key words: Separation Anxiety Disorder, Demographic Features, Clinical Features



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