Kassidy Bowen


anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy, anxiety sensitivity, accommodation, attachment


Children who have one or more parents with anxiety disorders are 76% more likely to develop anxiety disorders themselves (Hudson et al., 2014). With this correlation in mind, many studies aim to improve the treatment outcomes of children in such circumstances. However, the involvement of caregivers with anxiety disorders in the treatment of their children, specifically with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), does not always decrease the effects of anxiety on their children (Breinholst et al., 2012). Additionally, child CBT may not reduce stress-inducing factors originating from parental responses in the home (Metz et al., 2018). Parental tendencies that are common to those with anxiety disorders, such as accommodation, anxiety sensitivity (AS), and other anxiety-enabling responses, may negatively impact the treatment of anxious children (Francis, 2014). Research also indicates that attachment and perceived relationship factors of parents with anxiety disorders significantly impact child anxiety (Breinholst et al., 2018). Overall, patterns of parenting seem to have more impact on children with anxiety disorders than parental anxiety itself (Apetroaia et al., 2015). Increased perceived warmth has been shown to decrease stress levels, and strengthening parent–child relationships may be impactful in the reduction of anxiety (Wei & Kendall, 2014). Targeting specific behaviors of anxious parents may also be effective in reducing anxiety in both the parent and the child. More research is needed to determine which method of behavioral control and regulation is most effective in stress reduction.

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