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Effects of Parental Behavior on Child Anxiety Regulation

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by:
University of California, Los Angeles Identifier:
First received: January 3, 2008
Last updated: NA
Last verified: January 2008
History: No changes posted
Does parenting style affect emotion regulation among children who initially demonstrate high levels of fear and anxiety? Although recent correlational research has demonstrated a linkage between parental behaviors, such as excessive intrusiveness, and children's manifestations of fear and anxiety, it is not clear if parenting behaviors directly influence children's ability to regulate these emotions. Alternatively, these parental behaviors may be elicited by children who express fears and anxieties more frequently than other children do. Experimental research designs would offer a more definitive test of these competing explanations of the extant correlational findings. Intervention studies, in particular, can test whether experimentally manipulating current family interaction patterns affects children's ability to regulate emotion. This study provides a preliminary experimental test of the relationship between parental behavior and children's regulation of fear and anxiety. Some 40 clinically anxious youth, aged 6-13, were randomly assigned to a family intervention program for childhood anxiety problems, which includes extensive parent communication training, or a child intervention program without parent-training. By comparing these two interventions, we tested if it was possible to improve parenting behaviors—such as intrusiveness—through intensive parent-training, above and beyond the effects of involving children in a child intervention program. We then tested the impact of this change in parental behaviors on children's ability to regulate fear and anxiety. We hypothesized that parent-training would reduce intrusiveness, which would in turn improve children's anxiety outcomes.

Condition Intervention Phase
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Social Phobia
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Behavioral: Family cognitive behavioral therapy
Behavioral: Child-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Effects of Parental Behavior on Child Anxiety Regulation

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of California, Los Angeles:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule--Child and Parent Versions [ Time Frame: Posttreatment ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Multidimension Anxiety Scale for Children [ Time Frame: Posttreatment ]

Enrollment: 40
Study Start Date: March 2000
Study Completion Date: April 2004
Primary Completion Date: April 2004 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Family CBT
Behavioral: Family cognitive behavioral therapy
12-16 weekly sessions of family cognitive behavioral therapy, 60-80 minutes each
Active Comparator: 2
Child-focused CBT
Behavioral: Child-focused cognitive behavioral therapy
12-16 weekly sessions of child-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, 60-80 minutes each


Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years to 13 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • The child met DSM-IV criteria for a diagnosis of a principal anxiety disorder based on a semi-structured interview
  • The child was not taking any psychiatric medication at the initial assessment, or was taking a stable dose of psychiatric medication (i.e., at least one month at a stable dose prior to the baseline assessment), and
  • If medication was being used, families stated an intention to maintain that dose throughout the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • The child was currently in child-focused psychotherapy
  • The family was currently in family therapy or a parenting class
  • Either the child or the parents evidenced psychotic symptoms
  • The child began taking psychiatric medication or increased his/her dose of medication during the intervention, or
  • For any reason the child or parents appeared unable to participate in the intervention program.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00593515

United States, California
Los Angeles, California, United States, 90095
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of California, Los Angeles
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Wood, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
Principal Investigator: Marian Sigman, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
  More Information

Responsible Party: Jeffrey J. Wood, UCLA Identifier: NCT00593515     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 1F31MH064999 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: January 3, 2008
Last Updated: January 3, 2008

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anxiety Disorders
Phobic Disorders
Anxiety, Separation
Mental Disorders
Pathologic Processes
Neurodevelopmental Disorders processed this record on May 22, 2017