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Separation Anxiety Disorder

  1. Andreas Dick-Niederhauser1,
  2. Wendy K. Silverman2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0846

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Dick-Niederhauser, A. and Silverman, W. K. 2010. Separation Anxiety Disorder. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University Psychiatry Service, Berne, Switzerland

  2. 2

    University of Miami, Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common psychiatric disorder of childhood and early adolescence characterized by recurrent excessive and unrealistic fear of separation from home or major attachment figures, typically the mother. SAD can interfere considerably with social, family, and academic functioning and often leads to age-inappropriate behaviors. SAD should not be confused with separation anxiety, which occurs as a normal stage of development during the first year of life, when infants begin to understand that they are separate from their primary caregiver.


  • anxiety;
  • separation anxiety;
  • separation anxiety disorder;
  • attachment