Enhancing efficacy of cognitive behavioural treatment for children with anxiety disorders: Treating parent anxiety. [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: Does parent anxiety management enhance the efficacy of therapy for children with anxiety?

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Jennifer Hudson (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Ronald Rapee

Brief description Much attention is focused on childhood problems such as attention-deficit, depression and substance abuse. However, the most prevalent psychological problem experienced in childhood is anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that anxiety may lead to later problems such as depression or substance abuse. We know that anxiety disorders are a widespread problem in our youth. We also know that anxiety, if left untreated, will persist through the child's life and cause significant disruption to their life. The good news is that there has been an increased interest in these disorders and as a result treatments that work have been developed. However, a recent review of the best psychological treatments for anxiety in children showed that on average studies are reporting remission rates of only 56.5%. Clearly we need to develop more effective treatments for anxious children. One possible approach to improve outcomes for children with anxiety is to provide additional treatment for the parents. We know that anxiety runs in families: anxious children are more likely than non-anxious children to have anxious parents. A number of theories have suggested that parental anxiety plays an important role in the development of anxiety in children: An anxious parent may model anxious behaviour, encourage avoidance of anxious situations and reinforce anxious behaviour in their child. The results of this study will determine whether it is possible to improve the efficacy of treatments for anxiety in children by addressing anxiety in their parents. If the data show no additional benefit of the modified treatment, therapists can be more efficient in their treatment of anxious children by ignoring the parent's own anxiety. However, if as expected the modified treatment proves to be more efficacious, then we will have identified an important strategy to increase the efficacy of intervention for this highly prevalent and debilitating childhood problem.

Funding Amount $AUD 377,961.30

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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