Research Review: Pediatric anxiety disorders – what have we learnt in the last 10 years?

Jeffrey R. Strawn*, Lu Lu, Tara S. Peris, Amir Levine, John T. Walkup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Anxiety disorders first emerge during the critical developmental periods of childhood and adolescence. This review synthesizes recent findings on the prevalence, risk factors, and course of the anxiety disorders; and their neurobiology and treatment. Methods: For this review, searches were conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO, and Findings related to the epidemiology, neurobiology, risk factors, and treatment of pediatric anxiety disorders were then summarized. Findings: Anxiety disorders are high prevalence, and early-onset conditions associated with multiple risk factors including early inhibited temperament, environment stress, and structural and functional abnormalities in the prefrontal-amygdala circuitry as well as the default mode and salience networks. The anxiety disorders are effectively treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Conclusions: Anxiety disorders are high prevalence, early-onset conditions associated with a distinct neurobiological fingerprint, and are consistently responsive to treatment. Questions remain regarding who is at risk of developing anxiety disorders as well as the way in which neurobiology predicts treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-139
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • SRI)
  • fMRI
  • pharmacogenomics
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI
  • separation anxiety disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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