The relation between child and parent anxiety during a child anxiety disorder treatment
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The primary goal of this study was to examine the association between parent and child anxiety during a child-focused anxiety disorder treatment. The study explored this association in a sample of 488 youth from ages 7 to 17 from the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal Study (CAMS) and their primary caretaker that participated in the study. The investigator examined child anxiety, as measured by self-report, parent-report, and report by independent evaluator, parent anxiety, as measured by self-report, at pre- and post-treatment and child treatment response, as measured by an independent evaluator. Analyses provided several significant findings. Parent and child anxiety were significantly correlated at pre-treatment. However, parent anxiety at pre-treatment did not predict child treatment response. Parent anxiety at pre-treatment did moderate treatment outcome for youth in the medication-only condition in that youth whose parents had higher levels of anxiety tended to respond better to treatment. Child treatment condition did have significant impact on the change in parent anxiety, but there were no differences between treatment conditions. Finally, change in parent anxiety during treatment did not impact treatment outcome. Even though some of these findings were not clinically significant, the results from the study have implications for future research and clinical practice when working with youth with anxiety disorders. This study was relevant to understanding the conceptualization and treatment of children with anxiety disorders. Results confirmed past research that there is a significant, positive correlation between levels of parent and child anxiety at both pre- and post-treatment. However, results suggested that parent anxiety at pre-treatment only affects treatment response for those youth who only receive pharmacological treatment, and change in parent anxiety does not affect the child’s anxiety improvement. The results from this study support future research investigating anxiety in multiple caregivers and also assessing parent and child anxiety on a weekly basis during child anxiety treatment.