Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 812–819 | Cite as

Parental and Family Factors as Predictors of Threat Bias in Anxious Youth

  • Jennifer B. Blossom
  • Golda S. Ginsburg
  • Boris Birmaher
  • John T. Walkup
  • Philip C. Kendall
  • Courtney P. Keeton
  • Audra K. Langley
  • John C. Piacentini
  • Dara Sakolsky
  • Anne Marie Albano
Original Article


The present study examined the relative predictive value of parental anxiety, parents’ expectation of child threat bias, and family dysfunction on child’s threat bias in a clinical sample of anxious youth. Participants (N = 488) were part of the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal study (CAMS), ages 7–17 years (M = 10.69; SD = 2.80). Children met diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety and/or social phobia. Children and caregivers completed questionnaires assessing child threat bias, child anxiety, parent anxiety and family functioning. Child age, child anxiety, parental anxiety, parents’ expectation of child’s threat bias and child-reported family dysfunction were significantly associated with child threat bias. Controlling for child’s age and anxiety, regression analyses indicated that parents’ expectation of child’s threat bias and child-reported family dysfunction were significant positive predictors of child’s self-reported threat bias. Findings build on previous literature by clarifying parent and family factors that appear to play a role in the development or maintenance of threat bias and may inform etiological models of child anxiety.


Anxiety Family functioning Child Threat bias 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer B. Blossom
    • 1
  • Golda S. Ginsburg
    • 2
  • Boris Birmaher
    • 3
  • John T. Walkup
    • 4
    • 5
  • Philip C. Kendall
    • 6
  • Courtney P. Keeton
    • 2
  • Audra K. Langley
    • 7
  • John C. Piacentini
    • 7
  • Dara Sakolsky
    • 3
  • Anne Marie Albano
    • 8
  1. 1.Nemours PediatricsThomas Jefferson University HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.New York-Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.New York State Psychiatric InstituteColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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