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Preventing Anxiety in the Children of Anxious Parents: feasibility of a Brief, Online, Group Intervention for Parents of One to Three Year Olds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Accepted/In press22 Jun 2022

King's Authors


Background: The evidence suggests an increased risk of developing anxiety problems in children of anxious parents. The current study explored the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention with anxious parents of young children, to inform the possibility of further trials.

Methods: Participants were recruited through primary and secondary care psychological services and social media. Participants who had a current or recent anxiety disorder and a child aged 12-47 months were included. Assessments of parental and child outcomes occurred at baseline, after the intervention (week-2) and follow-up (week-8). The intervention was delivered in a small group format, in two sessions, one week apart, using videoconferencing.

Results: 30/32 participants (94%) attended the full intervention. All found the intervention acceptable and reported it as useful and relevant. There was a reduction in parental depression (MD=2.63, 95%CI 1.01-4.26), anxiety (MD=3.93, 95%CI 2.49-5.37), and stress (MD=4.60, 95% CI 3.02-6.18) and increases in parenting confidence.

Conclusions: The online group intervention was feasible and acceptable. There were moderate to large effects on parental mental health and no adverse effects on children (decline on outcome measures). This indicates that intervening early in parenting with anxious parents is possible and warrants further investigation to establish prevention efficacy with a larger, controlled trial.

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