Anxiety in Childhood: Gender and Sex Differences

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorders, affecting 6% to 20% of children and adolescents (hereafter, used interchangeably) in the United States. These overall rates of psychopathology conceal important sex differences prevalent in children. One of the most widely documented findings in psychiatric epidemiology, and the focus of this entry, is that sex significantly influences anxiety disorder prevalence; females are significantly more likely than males to develop an anxiety disorder throughout the lifespan. These sex differences remain even after controlling for psychosocial factors. This entry illuminates specific findings related to the influence of sex (and gender) across specific anxiety disorders and discusses theories for why such differences may exist.

As a prefatory note, it is important to clarify two key terms. ...

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