Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Anxiety Using the Vanderbilt ADHD Scale in a Diverse Community Outpatient Setting

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Pediatric anxiety is prevalent but frequently underdiagnosed compared with other behavioral conditions in primary care practice. Pediatricians routinely screen for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder using the Vanderbilt Rating Scale, which includes a short screen for anxiety. We sought to examine the prevalence of potential anxiety among patients whose parents originally had concerns of disruptive behavior in a diverse setting and examine differences in anxiety across ethnic groups using the Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Rating Scale (VADRS).


This was a cross-sectional analysis of medical records data of children between the ages of 5 to 12 years whose parents had concerns of disruptive behavior and received primary care from May 25, 2010, to January 31, 2014 at 2 pediatric community health clinics in Indianapolis.


Sixteen percent of children whose parents had concerns for disruptive behavior screened positive for anxiety based on the VADRS screen. Hispanic parents were less likely to report symptoms of anxiety (Spanish speaking: adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.4, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.2–0.8; English speaking: AOR 0.3, 95% CI, 0.1–0.9) compared with white and black families.


Anxiety is detected at a lower rate among Hispanic pediatric patients using the VADRS. This may suggest differences in the performance of the VADRS among Spanish-speaking families.

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