, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 319-339
Date: 15 Jul 2014

Parental Involvement: Contribution to Childhood Anxiety and Its Treatment

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Abstract

Anxiety disorders are prevalent in youth. Despite demonstrated efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), approximately 40 % of anxiety-disordered youth remain unresponsive to treatment. Because developmental and etiological models suggest that parental factors are relevant to the onset and maintenance of childhood anxiety, researchers have proposed and investigated family-based interventions with increased parent work in treatment, aiming to improve the efficacy of treatment for childhood anxiety. However, contrary to what theoretical models suggest, data to date did not indicate additive benefit of family-based CBT in comparison with child-centered modality. Is parent/family involvement unnecessary when treating childhood anxiety disorders? Or could there be the need for specificity (tailored family-based treatment) that is guided by a revised conceptualization that improves the implementation of a family-based intervention? The current review examines (1) relevant parental factors that have been found to be associated with the development and maintenance of childhood anxiety and (2) interventions that incorporate parental involvement. Relevant findings are integrated to formulate a “targeted” treatment approach for parental involvement in CBT for youth anxiety. Specifically, there is potential in the assessment of parent/family factors prior to treatment (for appropriateness) followed by a target-oriented implementation of parent training.