Practitioner review

Psychological management of anxiety disorders in childhood

M. R. Dadds*, P. M. Barrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many anxiety problems begin in childhood and are a common form of psychological problem that can be highly distressing and associated with a range of social impairments. Thus, skills for conceptualising, assessing, and treating childhood anxiety problems should be in the repertoire of all child mental health specialists. This paper reviews psychosocial treatments for the most common anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. Developmental models of anxiety disorders emphasise maximum risk in children with shy or inhibited temperaments who are exposed to high family anxiety and avoidance, and/or acutely distressing experiences. As children mature these temperamental and environmental experiences are internalised to low self-competence and high threat expectancy. Both individual or group-based interventions utilising cognitive-behavioural strategies to address multiple risk factors are highly efficacious and family involvement can contribute to positive outcomes. Guidelines for assessment and treatment are presented, and suggestions are made for effectively managing clinical process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1011
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume42
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • Behaviour therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Internalising disorder
  • Intervention
  • Phobias
  • Psychotherapy

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