Study Anxious Parents May Create Anxious Offspring

06.01.09 | FL News Team

Researchers are suggesting anxious parents can cause anxiety disorders in their children. A study done at Johns Hopkins Children's Center has found the children of parents diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are up to seven-times more likely to develop the same sort of problem themselves. The study says up to 65-percent of children living with an anxious parent meet the criteria to be diagnosed with their own anxiety disorder.

A recent editorial in the "New England Journal of Medicine" noted anxiety disorders affect one in five children in the U.S. but the problem is often not recognized. Lack of treatment can lead to depression, substance abuse and poor academic performance, all lasting well into adulthood.

In the study, detailed in the June issue of the "Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology," researchers suggest medical professionals who treat adults for anxiety issues ask about the patients' children. If appropriate they recommend parents and offspring be referred to behavioral therapy classes. The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.