A Novel Clinical Intervention for Severe Childhood Depression and Anxiety

Thursday, August 14, 2008

By :

Australian Catholic University


A novel clinical intervention, Emotionally Attuned Parenting, was developed and trialed for severe childhood depression and anxiety. The intervention was designed to alleviate child psychopathology by improving quality of parenting. Parents of eleven children aged between 6 and 13 years who were outpatients in a public mental health service completed treatment. Parents received between 5 and 13 treatment sessions that aimed to increase parental empathy and improve emotional care of the child. T-test analyses revealed that the intervention was related to a significant reduction in psychiatric disorders, child-reported depression and anxiety, parenting stress, and a marginally significant reduction in child behaviour problems. Data available for five cases at 6 months follow-up indicated that gains were maintained. Implications of results for treatment of severe childhood psychiatric disorders and the role of parental empathy are explored.


childhood psychopathology, comorbidity, depression, parental empathy, treatment

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