Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Weems, Carl

Second Advisor

Boxer, Paul

Third Advisor

Frick, Paul


One of the most common pairs of co-occurring psychological disorders in children and adolescents is anxiety and depression. This high frequency of co-occurrence has led to research examining the structure of anxiety and depression, specifically the shared and unique aspects of these syndromes. The tripartite model accounts for the overlap between the disorders by suggesting that they are related because they share the feature of negative affect or general psychological distress. The model further proposes that they can be differentiated by their unique features of physiological hyperarousal (anxiety) and low positive affect (depression). Factor analytic research has shown that anxious symptoms and depressive symptoms can be structurally distinguished and research on the tripartite model has suggested their conceptual distinction. However, research has not shown that anxiety and depression cluster as distinct symptoms in samples of youth. The current study used cluster analysis to examine the grouping of individuals based on their levels of anxiety and depression. It was hypothesized that four groups would emerge-- anxiety only, depression only, comorbid anxiety and depression, and low/no symptoms. Further analyses using the tripartite model variables provided support of the accurate classification of individuals and this model was shown to be a useful tool in differentiating anxious symptoms from depressive symptoms. Exploratory analyses regarding developmental differences in the structure of anxiety and depression provided mixed support.


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