The role of parental anxiety in the treatment of childhood anxiety

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1998 Dec;66(6):893-905. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.66.6.893.


Sixty-seven children aged 7 to 14 who met diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder were assigned to conditions according to parental anxiety level. Within these conditions, children were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: child-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or child-focused CBT plus parental anxiety management (CBT + PAM). At posttreatment, results indicated that within the child-anxiety-only condition, 82% of the children in the CBT condition no longer met criteria for an anxiety disorder compared with 80% in the CBT + PAM condition. Within the child + parental anxiety condition, 39% in the CBT condition no longer met criteria compared with 77% in the CBT + PAM condition. At follow-up, these differences were maintained, with some weakening over time. Results were not consistent across outcome measures. The interpretation and potential clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome