We examined trends in publications on childhood anxiety disorders over the past 25 years. A PsycINFO search was carried out to find relevant research articles published between 1982 and 2006. Results indicated a gradual and significant rise in the frequency of publications on childhood anxiety disorders during the past 25 years, and this increase was particularly strong for post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, and multiple anxiety disorders. Most studies concerned the phenomenology of childhood anxiety disorders (i.e., >50%). Considerable less research has been conducted on the etiology, intervention, and assessment of these disorders in youths. Nevertheless, the conclusion seems warranted that the research on childhood anxiety disorders has made significant advancements during the past decades. This notion is supported by a selective review of the literature, which highlights important developments in this field of study.
How do parents support their children after a high-impact disaster? To answer this question, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 51 Norwegian parents. These parents and children were all severely exposed to the trauma of the tsunami disaster. The analyses show how parents interpret their children's signs of distress, as well as their own strategies of support in the aftermath. The main strategies described by the parents were watchful waiting, careful monitoring of the children's reactions and a sensitive timing when providing support. Such monitoring, and interpretation of signs of distress, served as an aid for the parents in determining what needs their children had and what support they therefore needed to provide. A range of support strategies were employed, including re-establishing a sense of safety, resuming normal roles and routines, and talking to their children. Parents who were themselves severely impacted by the disaster reported a reduced ability to assess their children's reactions and thereby were unable to provide optimal care in the aftermath. Interestingly, the parents' support strategies mirror the early intervention recommendations put forward in the NICE guidelines and in the Psychological First Aid guidelines which is a well accepted and promising practice for helping children after disasters.
The development of preschool children of Aboriginal heritage is jeopardized by the inter-generational transmission of risk that has created, and continues to create, social disadvantage. Early intervention programs are intended to mitigate the impact of social disadvantage. Yet, evidence of the effectiveness of these programs for children of Aboriginal heritage is limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a two-generation, multi-cultural preschool program on 45 children of Aboriginal heritage and their caregivers. We used a single-group, pretest (program intake)/posttest (program exit) design with follow-up when the children were 7 years old. We used an observational measure of child receptive language (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III) and caregiver-reported measures of child development (Nipissing District Developmental Screen), risk for child maltreatment (Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory; AAPI), parenting stress (Parenting Stress Index; PSI), self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale; RSE), and life skills (Community Life Skills scale; CLS). Using paired t-tests we found statistically significant increases in child receptive language scores between intake and exit, and repeated-measures ANOVA showed that these improvements were maintained up to age 7 years. For caregivers, Pearson's correlations demonstrated that risk for child maltreatment, parenting stress, self-esteem, and life skills were stable over time. Results of this study suggest that children of Aboriginal heritage can benefit from participation in a two-generation, multi-cultural preschool program. Their caregivers may have received greater benefit if issues of intergenerational transmission of the negative influences of residential schools were addressed as part of programming.
Evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for children with severe behavioral and emotional problems have received a great deal of attention in children's mental health. Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC), a residential intervention for youth with emotional or behavioral problems, is one of the few community-based programs that is considered to be evidence-based. However, as for most treatment approaches, the vast majority of existing programs do not deliver the evidence-based version. In an attempt to fill this gap and improve practice across a wide range of TFC agencies, we developed an enhanced model of TFC based on input from both practice and research. It includes elements associated with improved outcomes for youth in "usual care" TFC agencies as well as key elements from Chamberlain's evidence-based model. The current manuscript describes this "hybrid" intervention - Together Facing the Challenge - and discusses key issues in implementation. We describe the sample and settings, highlight key implementation strategies, and provide "lessons learned" to help guide others who may wish to change practice in existing agencies.
The effectiveness of an 8-week mindfulness training for adolescents aged 11-15 years with ADHD and parallel Mindful Parenting training for their parents was evaluated, using questionnaires as well as computerized attention tests. Adolescents (N = 10), their parents (N = 19) and tutors (N = 7) completed measurements before, immediately after, 8 weeks after and 16 weeks after training. Adolescents reported on their attention and behavioral problems and mindful awareness, and were administered two computerized sustained attention tasks. Parents as well as tutors reported on adolescents' attention and behavioral problems and executive functioning. Parents further reported on their own parenting, parenting stress and mindful awareness. Both the mindfulness training for the adolescents and their parents was delivered in group format. First, after mindfulness training, adolescents' attention and behavior problems reduced, while their executive functioning improved, as indicated by self-report measures as well as by father and teacher report. Second, improvements in adolescent' actual performance on attention tests were found after mindfulness training. Moreover, fathers, but not mothers, reported reduced parenting stress. Mothers reported reduced overreactive parenting, whereas fathers reported an increase. No effect on mindful awareness of adolescents or parents was found. Effects of mindfulness training became stronger at 8-week follow-up, but waned at 16-week follow-up. Our study adds to the emerging body of evidence indicating that mindfulness training for adolescents with ADHD (and their parents) is an effective approach, but maintenance strategies need to be developed in order for this approach to be effective in the longer term.
The present study was conducted with the aim to identify comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (n = 40) and to compare those comorbidity rates to those in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (n = 40). Participants were clinically referred children aged 7-18 years. DSM-IV classifications were used for the primary diagnosis (ASD/ADHD), while comorbid psychiatric disorders were assessed using a structured diagnostic interview, the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV, childhood diagnoses (KID-SCID). Twenty-three children with ASD (57.5 %) had at least one comorbid disorder, whereas 16 children with ADHD (40.0 %) were classified as having at least one comorbid disorder. No group differences were found with respect to this comorbidity rate or for the rate of comorbid externalizing disorders (ODD and/or CD). However, children with ASD had more comorbid internalizing disorders compared to children with ADHD. More specifically, children with ASD had higher rates of anxiety disorders, but not mood disorders. No associations between comorbidity and age or between comorbidity and the intelligence quotient was found. It is important for clinicians to always be aware of, and screen for, comorbidity, and to consider treatment for these comorbid disorders. In addition, research should focus on establishing valid and reliable screening tools as well as effective treatment options for these comorbid disorders.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of an 8-week mindfulness training for children aged 8-12 with ADHD and parallel mindful parenting training for their parents. Parents (N = 22) completed questionnaires on their child's ADHD and ODD symptoms, their own ADHD symptoms, parenting stress, parental overreactivity, permissiveness and mindful awareness before, immediately after the 8-week training and at 8-week follow-up. Teachers reported on ADHD and ODD behavior of the child. A within-group waitlist was used to control for the effects of time and repeated measurement. Training was delivered in group format. There were no significant changes between wait-list and pre-test, except on the increase of teacher-rated ODD behavior. There was a significant reduction of parent-rated ADHD behavior of themselves and their child from pre-to posttest and from pre- to follow-up test. Further, there was a significant increase of mindful awareness from pre-to posttest and a significant reduction of parental stress and overreactivity from pre-to follow-up test. Teacher-ratings showed non-significant effects. Our study shows preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness for children with ADHD and their parents, as rated by parents. However, in the absence of substantial effects on teacher-ratings, we cannot ascertain effects are due to specific treatment procedures.
Only limited attention has been given to parent coping resources in the positive adjustment of families of children with a disability. This study is the first to explore maternal positivity as a psychological coping resource related to family adjustment in these families. Consistent with broaden-and-build theory and prior positivity research, positivity was operationalized through a ratio of positive to negative affect scores. We employed longitudinal tracking over a 1 year interval. Children's diagnostic categories included developmental conditions or impairments, mental health disorders, complex health conditions, physical/motor conditions or impairments, sensory impairments, and provisionally diagnosed conditions or impairments. We used a computer assisted telephone survey to gather psychological, family, and demographic information from 152 mothers in Alberta, Canada. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated mothers' level of positivity and age, when controlled for family adjustment at Time 1, accounted for 46% of the variance in family adjustment at Time 2. That is, older mothers with higher positivity scores were found to live in households with higher levels of family adjustment after 1 year. These findings provide promising support for broaden-and-build theory, which posits that positive experienced emotions can offset and diminish the negative health and relationship impacts of chronic stress. Study findings support the salience of mothers' positivity as a psychological coping resource, which is related to enhanced family adjustment in situations of childhood disability.
This study examined media use and psychological adjustment (as indicated by depression and anxiety symptomatology) in a sample of 328 14- to 16-year-old adolescents. Primary goals of the study were to explore whether media use differs by gender, whether media use is related to adolescent psychological problems, and whether media use moderates the relationship between parental alcoholism and adolescent psychological adjustment. Adolescents were surveyed in the spring of 2006, and again one year later. Gender differences in media use were observed with boys spending more time playing video games than girls and girls spending more time talking on the phone than boys. Strikingly, none of the types of media examined was associated with depression or anxiety. Moreover, media use acted as a protective factor for boys. Boys who spent relatively more time playing video games and watching television had the lowest levels of anxiety, especially those from alcoholic homes. The opposite pattern emerged for girls.
We investigated the role of parents' and children's religiosity in behavioral adjustment among maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Data were collected on 170 maltreated and 159 nonmaltreated children from low-income families (mean age = 10 years). We performed dyadic data analyses to examine unique contributions of parents' and children's religiosity and their interaction to predicting child internalizing and externalizing symptomatology. A four group structural equation modeling was used to test whether the structural relations among religiosity predictors and child outcomes differed by child maltreatment status and child gender. We found evidence of parent-child religiosity interaction suggesting that (1) parents' frequent church attendance was related to lower levels of internalizing symptomatology among nonmaltreated children with low church attendance and (2) parents' importance of faith was associated with lower levels of internalizing and externalizing symptomatology among nonmaltreated children with low faith. The results suggest that independent effects of parents' religiosity varied depending on children's religiosity and parent-child relationship.
We used discrete-time survival mixture modeling to examine 5,305 adolescents from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth regarding the impact of parental monitoring during early adolescence (ages 14-16) on initiation of sexual intercourse and problem behavior engagement (ages 14-23). Four distinctive parental-monitoring groups were identified and labeled as "High," "Increasing," "Decreasing," and "Low". About 68% of adolescents received a high level of parental monitoring from ages 14 to 16 (High), 6 and 9% respectively exhibited an accelerated (Increasing) and a decelerated trajectory (Decreasing), and 17% had consistently low parental monitoring (Low). Relative to participants in the Low group, adolescents in the High group delayed sexual initiation by 1.5 years. Males, relative to females, were more likely to have had a low trajectory of parental monitoring, and were more likely to initiate sexual intercourse before age 14. In contrast to White Adolescents, Hispanics and Blacks were less likely to receive High parental monitoring, and had a higher rate of early sexual initiation before age 14. The study demonstrates the temporal relationship of parental monitoring with adolescent sexual initiation from a longitudinal perspective. An increase of parental monitoring across ages is accompanied with a decrease of sexual risk. The continual high level of parental monitoring from ages 14 to 16 also mitigated the risk of engagement in substance use and delinquent behaviors from ages 14 to 23.
Rates of teenage pregnancies are higher for African American and Latina adolescents compared to their White peers. African American and Latina adolescent mothers also experience more adversities than their White peers, such as higher rates of depression, school dropout, and economic disadvantage. Furthermore, children of adolescent mothers are at higher risk for adverse development. Parenting stress and social support can impact outcomes experienced by adolescent parents and their children. The present study examined the influence of adolescent mothers' parenting stress and perceived social support on maternal depression at baseline (six months after birth), and its impact on infant development one year later (18 months after birth). Participants were 180 adolescent mothers of African American or Latino/Hispanic descent. Results suggest that higher levels of parenting stress and less perceived social support were associated with higher levels of depression in the adolescent mothers at baseline. Higher levels of maternal depression were also associated with more developmental delays in infants one year post-baseline. Additionally, depression mediated the relationship between parenting stress and later child outcomes. These findings highlight the importance of examining parenting factors such as parenting stress, social support, and maternal depression in ethnic minority adolescent parents, and provide valuable information regarding unique risk and protective factors associated with positive maternal outcomes for ethnic minority adolescent parents and healthy development for their children.
When adolescents begin using substances, negative consequences are not always directly proportional to the amount used; heavy users may have few consequences whereas light users may have numerous consequences. This study examined how parental monitoring knowledge and parent-child relationship quality may serve as buffers against negative consequences when adolescents use substances. Self-report questionnaires were administered to a community sample of 200 healthy adolescents and their parents at two time points, one year apart. Results suggest that both parental monitoring knowledge and parent-child relationship quality serve as buffers against negative consequences of substance use - but only when adolescents report high levels of monitoring knowledge or strong parent-child relationship quality. Results suggests adolescent perceived parental monitoring knowledge and parent-child relationship quality each act independently to buffer adolescents against negative consequences of substance use over a one-year period.
Black adolescents with mental health problems are less likely than non-Black adolescents with mental health problems to receive treatment, primarily for non-financial reasons including negative perceptions of services and providers, and self-stigma associated with experiencing mental health problems. To better understand these obstacles, 16 adolescents and 11 caregivers, recruited from two K-8th grade elementary-middle schools, participated in four focus groups guided by the unified theory of behavior to explore mental health help-seeking behaviors and perceptions of mental health services. In the focus groups, caregivers acknowledged more positive attitudes about seeking mental health services than adolescents, but both expected the experience of actually doing so to be negative. Adolescents and caregivers also acknowledged social norms that inhibit their mental health help-seeking. Therefore, we conclude that interventions targeting expectancies and social norms might increase the connection of urban, under-resourced Black adolescents and their families to mental health services, and be particularly important given the long-term consequences of untreated mental health problems for this group.
Parental depression places offspring at elevated risk for multiple, co-occurring problems. The purpose of this study was to develop and preliminarily evaluate Project Hope, a family intervention for the prevention of both depression and substance use among adolescent-aged children (M = 13.9 years) of depressed parents. The program was created by blending two empirically supported interventions: one for depression and another for substance use. Thirty families were randomly assigned to either Project Hope (n = 16) or a wait-list control condition (n = 14). Pretests, posttests (n = 29), and 5-month follow-ups (n = 28) were conducted separately with parents and youth via phone interviews. Questions asked about the family depression experience, family interactions, family management, coping, adolescent substance use beliefs and refusal skills, adolescent depression, and adolescent substance use. Project Hope was fully developed, manualized, and implemented with a small sample of targeted families. Engagement in the program was relatively high. Preliminary outcome analyses were conducted using 2 (Group) ×3 (Time) analyses of covariance. Results provided some evidence for significant improvements among intervention compared to control participants in indicators of the family depression experience, family management, and coping, and a statistically significant decrease from pretest to posttest in alcohol quantity for intervention compared to control youth. Next steps for this program of research are discussed.
Parental monitoring is defined as a set of behaviors used to gain knowledge about an adolescent's whereabouts, friends and associates, and activities. However, can knowledge of adolescents' whereabouts/activities, and friends all be attained through the same strategies? Or do they require their own strategies? This study used qualitative interviews with 173 parents of older adolescents from 100 families. Emergent themes described strategies by which parents gain information about their adolescents' friends and the substance use of those friends. The strategies included direct interaction with the friend, gaining information from the teen, using second-hand sources, and making assumptions. Some of these strategies were consistent with previous research, while others raise new questions and provide interesting new directions to pursue. Primarily, additional consideration needs to be given to assessments of parental monitoring that include strategies for gaining knowledge of adolescents' friends and their substance use.
The adolescent children of depressed mothers are at increased risk for depression, but little is known about protective factors for these children. Maintenance of positive affect in a stressful context may be an important marker of resilience. Mothers with (n = 34) and without (n = 38) a history of depression and their adolescent children completed questionnaires regarding adolescents' coping and depressive symptoms and engaged in a 15 min videotaped interaction about family stress. Adolescents' observed behaviors were coded using the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scales. No significant differences emerged in observed behavior between adolescents of mothers with and without a history of depression. Higher levels of primary and secondary control coping and lower levels of disengagement coping were related to higher levels of observed positive mood and fewer depressive symptoms in adolescents. Observed positive mood was related to fewer depressive symptoms in adolescents, even after accounting for maternal history of depression and current maternal depressive symptoms. Results suggest the importance of considering positive affect in the context of family stress as a marker of resilience in adolescents at risk for depression. The current study provides evidence for coping as a protective factor, related to higher levels of positive affect and fewer depressive symptoms, in adolescents exposed to maternal depressive symptoms.
This study investigated relationships between attachment insecurity, maladaptive cognitive schemas, and various types of psychopathological symptoms in a sample of clinically referred adolescents (N = 82). A mediation model was tested in which maladaptive schemas operated as mediators in the relations between indices of attachment quality and conduct, peer, and emotional problems. Results revealed partial support for the hypothesized mediation effect: the schema domain of disconnection/rejection acted as a mediator in the links between insecure attachment and peer problems and emotional problems. Further analysis of these effects revealed that different types of maladaptive schemas were involved in both types of psychopathology. Altogether, findings suggest that treatment of adolescent psychological problems may need to target the improvement of attachment relationships with peers and parents and the correction of underlying cognitive schemas.
This study examined associations between indices of the quality of attachment relationships of adolescents with parents and peers, rumination, and symptoms of depression. More specifically, a mediation model was investigated in which rumination was hypothesized to mediate the relation between quality of attachment relations and symptoms of depression. A total of 455 high school students completed a battery of questionnaires, including quality of attachment relations, rumination, and depression. Results showed that most indices of quality of attachment relations were significantly associated with rumination and symptoms of depression. When examining the relative contribution of these variables in explaining variance in depression symptoms, trust in parents, communication with peers, and alienation from peers accounted for a significant portion of the variance in depression scores. Finally, the relation between communication with peers and depressive symptoms was fully mediated by rumination, whereas partial mediation was found for the relations between parental trust and depressive symptoms, and between alienation from peers and depressive symptoms. Implications of the findings may be that the treatment of depression in adolescence should consist of both cognitive interventions aimed at targeting ruminative thinking as well as a focus on interpersonal relationships of the adolescent with parents and peers.
Prior research on adolescent peer relationships has focused on interpersonal dimensions of friendships but not of romantic relationships, and has rarely examined minority groups. We used a random sample of 122 adolescents to examine race and gender differences in friendships, romantic relationships, and the congruence between closest friendship and romantic relationship on five interpersonal domains: mutual support, self-disclosure, hurtful conflict, fear of betrayal, and interpersonal sensitivity. Significant race by gender differences in the difference between relationship type for both positive and negative dimensions of relationships were found. White girls reported significantly higher levels of self-disclosure in their friendship ties in comparison to romantic relationship, whereas white boys reported nearly equivalent levels. In comparison to white adolescents, Black adolescent girls and boys had similar levels of self-disclosure in their romantic relationships as their same-sex friendships. With regards to negative elements of relationships, girls reported more hurtful conflict in romance than friendship, whereas boys reported an opposite pattern. Results highlight the importance of consideration of race and gender influences on youth interpersonal skills within peer and romantic relationships.
Approximately 10% of children grow up with a parent who has been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition (CMC) and seem to be at risk for adjustment difficulties. We examined differences in behavioral, psychosocial and academic outcomes between 161 adolescents from 101 families with a chronically ill parent and 112 adolescents from 68 families with healthy parents, accounting for statistical dependence within siblings. Children between 10 and 20 years and their parents were visited at home and filled in questionnaires. Multilevel analyses showed that 20-60% of the variance in most adolescent outcomes was due to the family cluster effect, especially in internalizing problem behavior, caregiving variables and quality of parent attachment. Conversely, the variance in stress and coping variables and grade point average (GPA) was mainly due to individual characteristics. Adolescents with parents affected by CMC displayed more internalizing problems than the comparison group and scored higher on frequency of household chores, caregiving responsibilities, activity restrictions, isolation, daily hassles and stress. In addition, their grade point average was comparatively worse. No group differences in externalizing problems, coping skills and quality of parent attachment were found. In conclusion, the family cluster effect largely explains adolescent outcomes and should be accounted for. Adolescents with parents affected by CMC are subject to an increased risk for internalizing problems, adverse caregiving characteristics, daily hassles, stress and a low GPA. According to a family-centered approach, school counselors and health care practitioners should be alert to adjustment difficulties of children with a chronically ill parent.
Behavioral inhibition (BI) has been associated with the development of internalizing disorders in children and adolescents. It has further been shown that attentional control (AC) is negatively associated with internalizing problems. The combination of high BI and low AC may particularly lead to elevated symptomatology of internalizing behavior. This study broadens existing knowledge by investigating the additive and interacting effects of BI and AC on the various DSM-IV based internalizing dimensions. A sample of non-clinical adolescents (N = 1806, age M = 13.6 years), completed the Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System Scales (BIS/BAS), the attentional control subscale of the Adult Temperament Questionnaire (ATQ) and the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS). As expected, BI was positively, and AC was negatively related to internalizing dimensions, with stronger associations of BI than of AC with anxiety symptoms, and a stronger association of AC than of BI with depressive symptoms. AC moderated the association between BI and all measured internalizing dimensions (i.e., symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depressive disorder). Since high AC may reduce the impact of high BI on the generation of internalizing symptoms, an intervention focused on changing AC may have potential for prevention and treatment of internalizing disorders.
Dual involvement with the mental health system and justice system is relatively frequent for young adults with mental health problems, yet the research on factors predictive of dual involvement is incomplete. This study extends past research on predictors of criminal charges for people in the public mental health system in four ways. First, this study expands the longitudinal study period to include the time of transition to adulthood, from 16 to 25 years of age. Second, this study separately predicts specific types of criminal charges, including violent, property, drug, and nuisance charges. Third, this study examines whether residential treatment or inpatient hospitalization are predictive of criminal charges. Fourth, this study stratifies prediction by gender. Findings indicated high levels of dual involvement during this time period. In general, males and people diagnosed with substance use disorder or conduct disorder were more likely to have a criminal charge. Other predictors of specific criminal charges varied by gender. Residential treatment, inpatient hospitalization, and anxiety disorder were generally not related to criminal charges. Implications for cross-system collaboration and early intervention are discussed.
A prospective design was used to examine the association of marijuana use during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood with reported relationship quality with significant other in the mid- to late twenties. The community-based sample consisted of 534 young adults (mean age = 27) from upstate New York. The participants were interviewed at four points in time at mean ages 14, 16, 22, and 27 years. Marijuana use during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood was associated with less relationship cohesion and harmony, and with more relationship conflict with control on variables reflecting the participants' early interpersonal adjustment and the quality of the relationships with their parents. Findings suggest that marijuana use during emerging adulthood predicts diminished relationship quality with a partner in the mid- to late twenties.