Mental disorders produce significant impact on people's lives and result in large burden on individuals and societies. Life interference is also a key factor differentiating sub-clinical difficulties or personality styles from clinical disorders. This makes the impact and life interference associated with mental disorders arguably the key issue of relevance to both sufferers and therapists. Yet among both childhood and adult disorders the primary focus in terms of assessment and treatment is on symptoms, with far less attention paid to the impact of these symptoms on the sufferer's life. This imbalance has particularly characterised research on child anxiety where few studies have examined either the impact of anxiety disorders on children's lives or the effects of treatments on life interference. To some extent this lack of attention has come from a lack of well developed measures to assess life interference derived from symptoms of anxiety. Broader and more general life interference measures tend to have minimal relevance for children with anxiety disorders. The current paper will describe two measures of life interference that have been developed at the Centre for Emotional Health directed at children and adolescents. One measure, the Children's Anxiety Life Interference Scale (CALIS) was developed to assess interference directly associated with symptoms of anxiety in children and adolescents, while the other, the Adolescent Life Interference Scale (ALIS) is a broader measure of life interference of direct relevance to adolescents. The talk will describe psychometric properties and will then provide a descriptive coverage of levels of interference associated with different anxiety disorders. Age differences, gender differences, and additional correlates will be described and use of the CALIS with samples in other countries will also be described.
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7th World congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, 2013