- What are the odds of anxiety disorders running in families?
- A family study of anxiety disorders in mothers, fathers, and siblings of children with anxiety disorders
- European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
- Volume | Issue number
- 27 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This family study investigated (1) the prevalence of anxiety disorders (ADs) in parents and siblings of children (n = 144) aged 8–18 years with ADs compared to control children (n = 49), and (2) the specificity of relationships between child–mother, child–father, and child–sibling ADs. Clinical interviews were used to assess current DSM-IV-TR ADs in children and siblings, and lifetime and current ADs in parents. Results showed that children with ADs were two to three times more likely to have at least one parent with current and lifetime ADs than the control children (odds ratio (OR) = 2.04 and 3.14). Children with ADs were more likely to have mothers with current ADs (OR = 2.51), fathers with lifetime ADs (OR = 2.84), but not siblings with ADs (OR = 0.75). Specific relationships between mother–child ADs were found for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD, OR = 3.69) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (OR = 3.47). Interestingly, all fathers and siblings with SAD came from families of children with SAD. Fathers of children with SAD were more likely to have lifetime ADs themselves (OR = 2.86). Findings indicate that children with ADs more often have parents with ADs, and specifically SAD is more prevalent in families of children with SAD. Influence of parent’s (social) ADs should be considered when treating children with ADs.
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