Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems: A Clinician's Guide

By Carolyn S. Schroeder; Betty N. Gordon | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Fears and Anxieties

We all experience fear and anxiety as normal emotions at some times during our lives. These emotions serve to elicit behaviors essential to survival, and can also increase the motivation for learning adaptive skills. The stimuli that provoke fear and anxiety change with development in a way that corresponds to a child's increasing cognitive and hematcal abilities and the consequent new experiences. These emotions are such a “normal” part of a child's life that even excessive fears or anxieties are often not brought to the attention of mental health professionals until they seriously interfere with the child's functioning or the parents' lives.

The past 10 years have brought increased knowledge about anxiety disorders in children, but the empirical literature continues to be sparse in regard to the etiology, assessment, and treatment of children with these symptoms. Children tend to have fewer anxiety disorders than adolescents and adults, but children who have anxiety disorders typically have multiple problems and often live with parents who themselves suffer from psychiatric symptoms. Furthermore, anxiety disorders in children persist longer than previously thought, and a child who has had one episode of an anxiety disorder is at high risk for further episodes. Depression often occurs along with anxiety disorders, and this further increases the risks for these children. The goal of the child clinician is to differentiate children with clinically significant fears and anxieties from those whose fears and anxieties are a normal part of development. In addition, a number of children who exhibit subclinical levels of anxiety symptoms may be experiencing such marked distress that treatment is warranted. This chapter first briefly reviews the hemattions and developmental aspects of fear, anxiety, and worry. Next, the classification, prevalence, and nature of the most common anxiety disorders experienced by children are discussed. Finally, what is known about the assessment and treatment of these disorders is presented.


Although fear, anxiety, and worry, have been studied for decades, there is no clear consensus on how to define or conceptualize them, and the three are often used interchangeably. The terms “anxiety,” “fear,” and “worry” are hypothetical constructs reflecting subjective events that must be inferred by behavioral signs, physiological responses, and self-reports.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Assessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems: A Clinician's Guide


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 624

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?