A Parent–Child Interactional Model of Social Anxiety Disorder in Youth

  • Thomas H. OllendickEmail author
  • Kristy E. Benoit


In this paper, one of the most common disorders of childhood and adolescence, social anxiety disorder (SAD), is examined to illustrate the complex and delicate interplay between parent and child factors that can result in normal development gone awry. Our parent–child model of SAD posits a host of variables that converge to occasion the onset and maintenance of this disorder. Specifically, five risk factors—temperamental characteristics of the child, parental anxiety, attachment processes in the parent–child dyad, information processing biases, and parenting practices—will be highlighted. While it is acknowledged that other factors including genetic influences and peer relationships may also be important, they are simply not the focus of this paper. Within these constraints, the implications of our parent–child interaction model for prevention, treatment, research, and practice will be explored.


Social anxiety disorder Behavioral inhibition Overprotective parenting Parental anxiety Interpretation biases 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child Study Center, Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgVirginia

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