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Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2002 Sep;5(3):161-72.

Rationale and principles for early intervention with young children at risk for anxiety disorders.

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Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 02138, USA.


Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent categories of disorder among adults and children. Children of parents with anxiety disorders are known to be at higher risk for anxiety disorders themselves, with manifestations of this risk often appearing in toddlerhood or early childhood. Yet because affected parents are often unskilled in anxiety management, they often have difficulty in helping their young children learn to manage anxiety. Literature on the course of anxiety disorders through childhood and on effective cognitive-behavioral interventions suggests that preventive interventions even with very young children could potentially be of benefit in mitigating the course of these often debilitating disorders. This paper outlines the rationale for offering early or preventive interventions to preschool-age children at risk and their parents and discusses means of identifying children to target for intervention and the importance of parental involvement. Drawing upon the literature on parental factors in childhood anxiety disorders as well as on effective intervention strategies with preschool-age children, it delineates principles for intervention with parents and effective components of intervention with youngsters in this age range.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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