University of Sussex

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Making parenting work for anxious children

posted on 2023-06-08, 21:39 authored by Samantha Cartwright-HattonSamantha Cartwright-Hatton
Anxiety disorders in early and middle childhood are common. Untreated, they are often persistent into adolescence and adulthood and are associated with a range of poor outcomes. Despite this, we have few treatment approaches that are designed for this young age group. There is evidence that anxious children experience the same cognitive distortions as predicted by models of anxiety disorders for adults, therefore, cognitive approaches are likely to be useful. However, delivering standard CBT to this age group is difficult. There is also evidence of parenting differences in anxious children, and some indication that these might be involved in the maintenance of the disorder. Anxious children may be particularly susceptible to parenting influences. Therefore, modifying parenting might also be fruitful in treatment of this age group. This paper outlines a parenting intervention that is designed specifically for young anxious children. This ten-session programme is designed for delivery to small groups of parents who have an anxious child. The intervention weaves together two strands, namely training in basic cognitive behavioural techniques that parents may use when their children are anxious, and modified behavioural parent training techniques that are designed to provide the child with a warm, calm, clear and consistent environment in which to develop.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health


The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health



Book title

The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Occasional Paper




Occasional Papers Series

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  • Psychology Publications

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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