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  • Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, Volume 36, Issue 1
  • January 2008, pp. 41-48

Treatment Response in Child Anxiety is Differentially Related to the Form of Maternal Anxiety Disorder

  • Peter J. Cooper (a1), Catherine Gallop (a1), Lucy Willetts (a1) and Cathy Creswell (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2008

An examination was made of the extent to which maternal anxiety predicted response to treatment of children presenting with an anxiety disorder. In a sample of 55 children referred to a local NHS CAMH service for treatment of an anxiety disorder, systematic mental state interview assessment was made of both mothers and children, and both completed self-report questionnaires to assess aspects of anxiety, both immediately before the children received treatment and following treatment. Children of mothers with anxiety disorder overall responded less well to treatment than children of mothers with no anxiety disorder. There was some diagnostic specificity in this in that children of mothers with GAD did as well in treatment as children whose mothers had no anxiety, whereas children of mothers with social phobia did poorly. The outcome for children with anxiety appears to be related to the presence and nature of maternal anxiety. It would seem prudent that treatment of children with anxiety involves assessment of maternal anxiety. It is important to establish in systematic investigation whether treatment of maternal anxiety improves the outcome for child anxiety.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Peter J. Cooper, Winnicott Research Unit, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, 3 Early Gate, Reading RG6 6AL, UK. E-mail:
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