Balance treatment ameliorates anxiety and increases self-esteem in children with comorbid anxiety and balance disorder

Res Dev Disabil. May-Jun 2009;30(3):486-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2008.07.008. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Comorbidity between balance and anxiety disorders in adult population is a well-studied clinical entity. Children might be particularly prone to develop balance-anxiety comorbidity, but surprisingly they are practically neglected in this field of research. The consequence is that children are treated for what seems to be the primary disorder without noticing possible effects on the other disorder. In Study 1, children with balance dysfunction were compared to normally balanced controls on anxiety and self-esteem. In study 2, children with balance dysfunction were assigned to either balance training or a waiting-list control. Training consisted of 12 weekly sessions of balance treatment. Anxiety and self-esteem were tested before and after treatment/waiting. Study 1 confirmed significantly higher anxiety and lower self-esteem in the balance dysfunction group compared to the control group. Study 2 showed that treatment improved balance performance, reduced anxiety, and increased self-esteem relative to the control waiting list group. Taken together, the present findings are in accord with the observations of comorbidity between balance and anxiety disorders in adults and confirm their validity in children younger than 7 years of age. This profile of comorbidity between balance dysfunction and anxiety also include lower self-esteem.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / etiology
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Competency
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Postural Balance*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept*
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sensation Disorders / psychology*
  • Sensation Disorders / rehabilitation