Effects of parent and family characteristics on treatment outcome of anxious children

Andrea M. Victor, Debra H. Bernat, Gail A Bernstein, Ann E. Layne

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39 Scopus citations


This study examines relations between family functioning, parenting stress, parental psychopathology, and treatment outcome. Participants included 61 children (ages 7-11 years) with features or diagnoses of separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and/or social phobia. Treatment conditions included group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and no-treatment control. Higher family cohesion at baseline was associated with significantly greater decreases in child anxiety at posttreatment for participants who received CBT, while no association was found for the no-treatment control participants. Parenting stress and parental psychopathology were not associated with treatment outcome for either condition. Post hoc analyses examining relations between family cohesion, parenting stress, and parental psychopathology showed that parents from families low in cohesion reported significantly higher levels of parenting stress and psychopathology compared to parents from families high in cohesion. These results will facilitate development and implementation of effective interventions with anxious children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-848
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R21 MH065369), the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation to Dr. Bernstein. Presented as a paper in a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, San Diego, CA, October 2006. The authors express their appreciation to the participating schools and families.


  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Families
  • Treatment outcome


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