Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric conditions affecting youth, with overall prevalence rates ranging from 10-20%. Subclinical symptoms of anxiety (i.e., excessive symptoms that do not meet diagnostic criteria) occur in approximately 42% of children and are a risk factor for developing an anxiety disorder over time. Anxiety disorders and elevated symptoms of anxiety are associated with significant impairment in academic, social, and behavioral functioning across key settings, including school and home. Childhood anxiety disorders are chronic illnesses and are considered gateway disorders as they predict adult disorders, namely anxiety, depression, and substance use. There is also a high economic burden associated with anxiety - with the cost of treating these disorders among adults estimated to be 42.3 billion dollars annually. In light of the high prevalence, associated impairment, and high costs of treatment, efforts at early identification and prevention with youth at risk could have a significant public health impact. One group at significant risk for developing anxiety disorders is the offspring of anxious parents. This elevated risk is due to both genetic and psychosocial influences. Consequently, these youth are an ideal target for prevention. Efforts at preventing anxiety disorders holds the promise of altering the life trajectory of children at risk and lowering costs associated with treatment to families and society. A family-based preventive intervention appears promising over a one year period.
Golda S. Ginsburg, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry; Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Ginsburg has been developing and evaluating interventions for anxious youth for over 20 years. Most recently she serves as the PI and leader of the coordinating center for Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal Extended Long-term Study, the multi-site follow up study of anxious youth from CAMS. She is also completing an R01 on the prevention of anxiety disorders in the offspring of anxious parents and has started a K24 project examining biomarkers of pediatric anxiety. Dr Ginsburg also developed a school-based treatment for anxiety and is the PI of a large efficacy trial of a modular school-based intervention for anxious youth funded by IES. She has been the PI or Co-PI on over 10 federally and/or privately funded clinical trials, including the large NIMH-funded landmark multi-site clinical trials for depression (Treatment of Adolescent Depression Study; TADS), anxiety (Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal Study; CAMS) and Tourette’s (Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics; CBIT). She is now Chair of the Child Interventions review committee at NIMH.
Learn more about Dr. Ginsburg
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
For information on anxiety disorders and treatment. The mission of the ADAA is to promote the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders through education, practice, and research.