A review of the tripartite model for understanding the link between anxiety and depression in youth

Emily R. Anderson, Debra A. Hope

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Although research from numerous investigations indicates that there is substantial overlap in anxiety and depressive symptoms and comorbid diagnoses in youth, these constructs can be adequately differentiated. Clark and Watson [Clark, L. A. & Watson, D., (1991). Tripartite model of anxiety and depression: Psychometric evidence and taxonomic implications. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 316-336] proposed a tripartite model to account for the symptom overlap and diagnostic comorbidity between anxiety and depression. This tripartite model posits that anxiety and depression share a common component of negative affect, but can be differentiated by low positive affect associated with depression and high physiological hyperarousal associated with anxiety. The present article reviews initial research which has supported the utility of the tripartite model for explaining the association between anxiety and depression in adult and youth samples. Following that review, more recent investigations which have called into question the applicability of the tripartite constructs for youth are presented. Finally, the paper reviews evidence suggesting that the tripartite factors may not function similarly across all anxiety and depressive disorders. This article concludes by suggesting that more research is necessary with children and adolescents in order to determine the functioning of tripartite constructs across anxiety disorders in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Tripartite model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'A review of the tripartite model for understanding the link between anxiety and depression in youth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this