Prevention and early intervention of anxiety disorders in inhibited preschool children

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005 Jun;73(3):488-97. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.73.3.488.


This article reports results from an early intervention program aimed at preventing the development of anxiety in preschool children. Children were selected if they exhibited a high number of withdrawn/inhibited behaviors--one of the best identified risk factors for later anxiety disorders--and were randomly allocated to either a 6-session parent-education program or no intervention. The education program was group based and especially brief to allow the potential for public health application. Children whose parents were allocated to the education condition showed a significantly greater decrease in anxiety diagnoses at 12 months relative to those whose parents received no intervention. However, there were no significant effects demonstrated on measures of inhibition/withdrawal. The results demonstrate the value of (even brief) very early intervention for anxiety disorders, although these effects do not appear to be mediated through alterations of temperament.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / prevention & control
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temperament
  • Treatment Outcome