Children who met DSM-III criteria for separation anxiety disorder (N =
48) or a phobic disorder of school (N = 19) were compared with respect to
demographic characteristics, symptoms, associated psychiatric disorders,
and maternal psychiatric illness. More children with separation anxiety
disorder were female, prepubertal, and from families with lower
socioeconomic backgrounds. Children with separation anxiety disorder were
less likely to exhibit school refusal than children with school phobia.
However, they were more likely to meet criteria for an additional DSM-III
diagnosis. Finally, their mothers had a rate of affective disorders four
times greater than that of mothers of children with school phobia.