Family Factors in the Development and Management of Anxiety Disorders

  • Ronald M. RapeeEmail author


Family variables are thought to play a key role in a wide variety of psychopathology according to many theories. Yet, specific models of the development of anxiety disorders place little emphasis on general family factors despite clear evidence that anxiety runs in families. The current review examines evidence for the involvement of a number of family-related variables in the development of anxiety disorders as well as the importance of families in their management. Evidence across most areas is shown to be weak and inconsistent, with the one exception being an extensive literature on the role of parenting in the development of anxiety. There is also currently little evidence that family factors have a strong role to play in the treatment of anxiety, aside from research demonstrating the value of parents and partners as non-critical supports in therapy. The promises and hints in the literature, combined with the currently inconsistent methods, suggest that considerably more research is needed to determine whether specific family factors may yet be shown to play a key role in the development and management of anxiety disorders.


Anxiety disorders Family Parenting Abuse Treatment 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Emotional HealthMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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