Youth Anxiety and Parent Factors Over Time: Directionality of Change Among Youth Treated for Anxiety

Cara A. Settipani, Kelly A. O'Neil, Jennifer L. Podell, Rinad S. Beidas, Philip C. Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The relationship between improvements in child anxiety and changes in parent factors (e.g., parental anxiety, parenting behaviors) is poorly understood. The present study investigated the directionality of change for child anxiety and parent factors among youth treated for anxiety disorders. Structural equation modeling examined these relationships pre- to posttreatment and at 1-year follow-up for 111 youth aged 7 to 14 (57% male, 84% Caucasian). Child anxiety was measured using the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children and the Child Behavior Checklist. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Children's Report of Parental Behavior Inventory, and Family Assessment Device were used to measure maternal anxiety, psychological control, behavior control, and family affective involvement. Findings suggest that decreases in mother-reported child anxiety led to decreases in maternal anxiety. Decreases in maternal psychological control and family affective involvement preceded decreases in clinician-rated child anxiety. Youth who showed the most reductions in anxiety over the course of treatment were those who tended to have lower family affective involvement, behavior control, and maternal anxiety at pretreatment. Stability of the parent factors and child anxiety over time suggest that stability was greater for behavior control and maternal anxiety relative to affective involvement and psychological control. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating the importance of these parent factors as they relate to anxiety in youth. Furthermore, results indicate that changes in child anxiety may precede changes in parent factors and suggest that parental psychological control and affective involvement are important treatment targets for youth with anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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