Anxiety disorders are psychiatric illnesses that cause an individual to feel significant emotions of anxiety and fear. It is a serious problem among children because it puts a child at risk of social, educational, and family impairment during toddlerhood, youth and adulthood. Currently, it is estimated that the number of adults who have anxiety disorders is as large as the number of children. Hence, there is a need to develop an evidence-based treatment to prevent more children from suffering from the condition. While there are many attempts in research to formulate effective treatment approaches for anxiety disorders among children, it has been hard to understand the causes, prevalence, and dealing mechanisms of anxiety disorders. Thus, there are continued efforts to establish how to determine the presence and approaches of treating anxiety disorders in children. The paper provides an analysis of two research articles that connect the development of anxiety disorder in children to environmental factors like parents. Therefore, below is a summary of the articles, their connections, and implications on pediatric anxiety disorder treatment.
The first article involves evidence of habitual emotional regulation among children with social anxiety and mixed anxiety disorders. In the background information, the researchers acknowledge the high prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder among young children. They admit that while steps have been made in effectively managing the condition within the population, the outcomes have not been entirely positive. They believe that this is so because there is no clear understanding of how children with social anxiety disorder regulate their emotions (Keil et al. 749). Also, they argue that little has been done in providing research evidence of how children who have other anxiety disorders differ from children with social anxiety disorder in regulating their emotions.
Further, they believe that an easier way to provide an understanding of emotional regulation among children with social anxiety disorder and other anxiety disorders would understand how parents with similar conditions regulate their emotions being that research evidence shows that there is a connection between emotional regulations among parents and children (Keil et al. 750). The researchers used a healthy control group and a control group that had mixed anxiety disorder. The findings show that children who have social anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety disorder have great maladaptive emotional regulation strategies and low adaptive emotional regulations strategies (Keil et al. 755). The findings confirm the idea that emotional regulations deficit exists in various diagnoses of childhood anxiety. However, there are minimal differences in self-reported cases of habitual emotional regulation strategies among children with social anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety disorder. Also, the findings showed that specific emotional regulations strategies significantly contribute to the maintenance of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety disorder in both children and parents (Keil et al. 755). The interpretation is based on the findings of the cross-sectional design which showed that more than a single emotional regulations strategy directly connected to symptoms of social anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety disorder in both parents and children. Another finding of the study is based on emotional regulations deficit in children who have a social anxiety disorder. The results confirm that children with social anxiety disorder frequently use rumination, has low emotional regulations strategies like forgetting and acceptance, and forgets easily (Keil et al. 755). Further, in analyzing the transdiagnostic deficit in emotional regulations among children with social anxiety disorder and mixed anxiety disorder, the study confirms that deficits in emotional regulations related to anxiety disorder occur in varying diagnostic types of clinical anxiety.
Article two focuses on the mediating role of maternal behavior in anxiety disorders among children based on the relationship between parental anxiety and toddler anxiety. The researchers provide background information on anxiety disorders among children by showing the prevalence, effects of the condition on the children, and risk factors. They provide that between 5% and 17% cases of anxiety disorder are associated with learning impairment, difficulties in the formation of peer relationships, and delayed development of emotional regulation skills (Gibler et al. 513). Also, they provide family is among the greatest anxiety disorder risk factor since research evidence shows that anxiety aggregates within families hence the children of parents with aggregated anxiety are the highest risk of developing anxiety disorder (Gibler et al. 513). Having analyzed the previous research evidence of the three factors, the researchers used an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model to predict the longitudinal effects of parental anxiety on child anxiety risk factors. The results were used to establish if maternal and paternal parenting behavior increase anxiety disorder risks (Gibler et al. 515). They measured the maternal and paternal anxiety on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales. It contains twenty-one self-reported factors that help in a diagnosing anxiety disorder among adults (Gibler et al. 515). Also, the measured parenting behavior on a scale of 0 to 6 where 0 presents the least desirable while 6 presents strongly desirable (Gibler et al. 515).
Further, they assessed child anxiety risk based on his behavior in the risk room. The results showed that a direct relation between child anxiety risk and parental anxiety did not exist. Also, the results showed that there is no direct relation between anxiety disorder risk in children and appropriate parenting behaviors (Gibler et al. 519). Thus, the researchers concluded that paternal parenting behavior is nearly insignificant during toddlerhood and lacks a relationship with an anxiety disorder (Gibler et al. 519). However, it becomes significant and a risk factor during the preschool period.
Although the articles approach anxiety disorders among children from different approaches, they connect the conditions to parental emotional regulations and behavior. However, the first article equally connects anxiety risk to both parents while the second article eliminates the connection between anxiety disorder and paternal behavior during the toddlerhood period. The first article approaches anxiety disorder based on emotional regulations deficits and symptoms of anxiety disorder in parents. The findings show that there is a relevant connection between parent and child emotional regulations which put a child at risk of developing anxiety disorder (Keil et al. 755). The findings confirm that a child with is suffering from social anxiety and mixed anxiety disorder is likely to experience difficulties in regulating his emotions because he has observed his parents experiencing similar difficulties. Right form birth, children experience observational learning which creates great emphasis on positive behavior of caregivers. The second article approaches anxiety from a maternal behavior approach. The findings confirm that while a father may be as much around as a mother during toddlerhood, the child acquires anxiety disorder symptoms from maternal behavior since there is no direct relation between paternal parental behavior and child anxiety risks. However, the effect of paternal behavior is significant during the pre-school period which puts emphasis on positive paternal behavior in managing the symptoms of anxiety disorder and generalbehavior.
The findings of the two studies have implications on the understanding of the main risk factors in child anxiety and role of parental behavior hence making it easier for treatment approaches of anxiety disorders to focus on childhood environment to help a patient cope with extreme fear and anxiety. The two articles confirm that environmental factors like family puts a child at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders compared to children whose parents are not diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Thus, the findings encourage treatment approaches to focus on addressing environmental factors like ensuring parents seek help in regulating emotional reactions to situations and teaching mothers on healthy parental behavior during toddlerhood which will help a child learn how to respond to emotions as well.
Many people understand anxiety disorder as a minor mental health illness which impairs learning, development of skills, peer interactions during youth and adulthood. However, few people understand the significance of parental behavior and emotional regulations in leading to the development of anxiety disorder in children. Through analyzing the two articles, the paper has shown that there are connections between emotional regulation deficits, maternal behavior, and anxiety disorder symptoms between parents and children. The findings of the studies show the significant influence of environmental factors like family in the development of anxiety disorder among children. Consequently, it helps in the development of treatment approaches for pediatric anxiety that involve parents after assessing their effectiveness in regulating their emotions and using positive parental behavior and transferring the same to their children who have anxiety disorders.
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