Symptoms of anxiety in adolescents. Findings from the TRAILS-study
background The Dutch TRAILS-study focuses on development from early adolescence into adulthood. An important aspect of this development is the development of anxiety. Hitherto little has been known about typical development of symptoms of anxiety during adolescence.
aim To describe both the normative development of anxiety during adolescence, and the risk indicators for high levels of anxiety in adolescents.
method Studies were embedded in trails, a large cohort study that followed children from the age of 10 to adulthood.
results Our results showed that, on average, levels of anxiety decrease in early adolescence and subsequently increase in middle or late adolescence, depending on the subtype of anxiety involved. Child-, parent- and peer-factors at age 10-12 years were related to higher subsequent anxiety levels. Some factors, such as the style of upbringing, were related to higher anxiety levels solely in early adolescence, whereas other factors such as being bullied by peers were related to continuing higher anxiety levels throughout adolescence, irrespective of later victimisation.
conclusion Our study should, we hope, lead to a better understanding of the normative development of anxiety in the general adolescent population.