Anxiety disorders are associated with measurable deficits in quality of life (QOL) in adult samples. However, this association has largely been unexplored in pediatric samples. In this study, we examined relationships between child anxiety—including number of anxiety disorders (comorbidity), symptom severity, and subtypes of anxiety—and QOL in a pediatric primary care sample.
Anxiety comorbidity was common in the current sample (n = 73), with 3-quarters being diagnosed with more than one anxiety disorder. QOL in the current sample did not vary significantly by age, gender, or race/ethnicity. Both greater comorbidity and higher total anxiety symptom severity were inversely associated with QOL across multiple domains, although anxiety comorbidity did not reach significance in multivariate models adjusted for gender, income, and externalizing symptoms. On the anxiety severity subscales, both physical symptoms and social anxiety had independent associations with QOL.
Anxiety-related outcomes, as measured by anxiety comorbidity, symptom severity, and type of anxiety, are associated with significantly worse QOL in a pediatric sample. Providers should be aware that QOL is impacted by both severity and type of anxiety-related conditions, particularly social anxiety and somatic-related anxiety.