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Comparing Parent and Child Self-report Measures of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in Children and Adolescents with a Chronic Health Condition

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Anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents with a chronic health condition have been estimated as high as 40% lifetime prevalence. Clinicians often rely on parent/caregiver information to supplement or substitute child self-report related to pediatric physical and mental health. We developed a caregiver proxy version (STAI-P) for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) State Anxiety Scale that was compared with a child self-report version in 201 parent–child dyads to evaluate its utility in measuring state anxiety in chronically ill youth. For patients aged 7–12, self-reports of state anxiety were moderately associated with parent distress and health provider-reported functional status, but negatively associated with parent STAI-P scores. For patients aged 13–17, self-reports of state anxiety were significantly associated with STAI-P scores, parent distress, and health provider-reported functional status. The STAI-P parent version may be a useful tool in identifying and addressing anxiety symptoms in youth living with a chronic health condition.

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Permission was granted in 2009 by Charles D. Spielberger, Ph.D., of University of South Florida, to develop and test the parent version of the STAI. The authors gratefully acknowledge Haven Battles, Ph.D., for her careful review of this manuscript and the help of Eliza Lanzillo, B.A., of the National Institute of Mental Health.


This work was supported by the Intramural Programs of the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health (ZIA-MH002922-09, NCT00824278)

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Correspondence to Lori Wiener.

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The study was approved by the Combined Neuroscience Institutional Review Board at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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Shain, L.M., Pao, M., Tipton, M.V. et al. Comparing Parent and Child Self-report Measures of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in Children and Adolescents with a Chronic Health Condition. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 27, 173–181 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09631-5

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  • State-Trait Anxiety Inventory
  • State anxiety
  • Parent–child concordance
  • Assessment