The purpose of this study was to examine gender and racial/ethnic differences in anxiety during adolescence.
Objective: Differences in both symptomatology and clinical levels of anxiety were examined.
Method: Surveys were administered in schools to a diverse sample of 1,000 15-17 year-old U.S. adolescents during the Spring of 2007 and the Spring of 2008.
Results: When symptomatology scores were assessed, girls had higher levels of generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, and school avoidance than boys. Girls also were significantly more likely to meet the clinical cutoff for all of the anxiety disorders than boys. Racial/ethnic differences in anxiety symptomatology scores were not found. However, when clinical cutoffs were examined, Hispanic adolescents were significantly more likely to meet the clinical cutoff for social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder in comparison to Caucasian adolescents and African American adolescents.
Conclusion: Findings from this study underscore the need to consider both gender and race/ethnicity when examining anxiety during adolescence.