Selective mutism (SM) is classified in DSM-5 as an anxiety disorder. The aim of the study was to investigate the psychological features of children with SM and their parental psychological profiles, compared to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) children and their parents. The parents of 26 preschool children with SM and 32 with children with GAD filled out the child behavior check list for 1½–5 years (CBCL1½–5) and the symptom checklist-90-revised (SCL-90-R). Information about the children and their parents’ histories was collected through clinical interviews. Children with SM scored higher than children with GAD on the CBCL1½–5 withdrawn scale and lower on the attention problems, aggressive behavior, and externalizing problems scales. Mothers of children with SM scored higher on the SCL-90-R obsessive–compulsive subscale and Global Severity Index than mothers of children with GAD, while fathers of children with SM scored higher on the SCL-90-R Phobic Anxiety subscale and on the Global Severity Index than fathers of children with GAD. Parents of children with SM displayed a greater presence of stressful life events than parents of children with GAD. Data appeared to confirm that SM and GAD share a common anxious core, though some differences in the children’s psychological profiles and the parents’ history and personality emerged. Future research should focus on the role of external factors, such as parent–child relationship, in the development of SM.
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 28, 2017
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