The Impact of Brief Parental Anxiety Management on Child Anxiety Treatment Outcomes

A Controlled Trial

Jennifer L. Hudson, Carol Newall, Ronald M. Rapee, Heidi J. Lyneham, Carolyn C. Schniering, Viviana M. Wuthrich, Sophie Schneider, Elizabeth Seeley-Wait, Susan Edwards, Natalie S. Gar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Parental anxiety is a risk to optimal treatment outcomes for childhood anxiety disorders. The current trial examined whether the addition of a brief parental anxiety management (BPAM) program to family cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was more efficacious than family CBT-only in treating childhood anxiety disorders. Two hundred nine children (aged 6-13 years, 104 female, 90% Caucasian) with a principal anxiety disorder were randomly allocated to family CBT with a five-session program of BPAM (n = 109) or family CBT-only (n = 100). Family CBT comprised the Cool Kids program, a structured 12-week program that included both mothers and fathers. Overall, results revealed that the addition of BPAM did not significantly improve outcomes for the child or the parent compared to the CBT-only group at posttreatment or 6-month follow-up. Overall, however, children with nonanxious parents were more likely to be diagnosis free for any anxiety disorder compared to children with anxious parents at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up. BPAM did not produce greater reductions in parental anxiety. The results support previous findings that parent anxiety confers poorer treatment outcomes for childhood anxiety disorders. Nevertheless the addition of BPAM anxiety management for parents in its current format did not lead to additional improvements when used as an adjunct to family CBT in the treatment of the child's anxiety disorder. Future benefits may come from more powerful methods of reducing parents' anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

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