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The other side of the coin: Using intervention research in child anxiety disorders to inform developmental psychopathology

  • JENNIFER L. HUDSON (a1), PHILIP C. KENDALL (a2), MEREDITH E. COLES (a2), JOANNA A. ROBIN (a2) and ALICIA WEBB (a2)...

Extract

With advancements in the technology of prevention and treatment of childhood anxiety disorders, information regarding our understanding of normal and abnormal child development can be enriched. Typically, research has focused on developing efficacious and effective interventions with less attention devoted to the impact this information may have on the field of developmental psychopathology. By reviewing the results of both treatment and prevention studies, several potential contributions of intervention research to the field can be explored. Results from wait-list or monitoring control groups will be reviewed, providing valuable information regarding the normal trajectory of the anxious child. Outcomes of children receiving the intervention prove that this pathway can be altered and is not impermeable. Furthermore, a review of long-term follow-up studies addresses the question of whether intervention can change the long-term trajectory of an anxiety-disordered child and prevent disorders in later life. Contributions to the etiological understanding of the anxiety disorders will also be reviewed: changes in variables considered important in the etiology and maintenance of disorder can be examined in synchronicity with changes in symptomatology following intervention. An examination of potential developmental predictors of treatment outcome will also contribute to this review, with a focus on the limitations of the current research in gaining a complete understanding of the relationship between developmental level and outcome. Directions regarding future research in the study of interventions for child and adolescent anxiety disorders will be discussed with the aim of promoting further communication between intervention research and the field of developmental psychopathology.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennifer L. Hudson, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia; E-mail: jhudson@psy.mq.edu.au.

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