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A brief parent-focused intervention reduces anxiety disorders in socially inhibited children

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Can future anxiety disorders be prevented in inhibited preschool-age children following a parent-focused intervention?


146 preschool-age children and their parents. Children were aged on average 3 years 10 months and were initially reported by their mothers to have a high level of withdrawal in prestudy screening questionnaires (the approach subscale of the Short Temperament Scale for Children). They were subsequently included if they demonstrated behavioural inhibition in further laboratory assessment.


Recruitment between 1998 and June 2000 from Australian preschools.


Parents were randomised to receive an intervention or monitoring only. The parent-intervention programme included small groups of parents invited for six 90 min sessions with a clinical psychologist. The first four sessions were held weekly, the fifth was 2 weeks later and the final was held a month later. The sessions included discussions about the nature of anxiety and its development, parent management techniques focusing on how overprotection maintains anxiety, sessions teaching the application of cognitive restructuring to the parents …

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