An ecological risk model for early childhood anxiety: the importance of early child symptoms and temperament.

Academic Article


  • Childhood anxiety is impairing and associated with later emotional disorders. Studying risk factors for child anxiety may allow earlier identification of at-risk children for prevention efforts. This study applied an ecological risk model to address how early childhood anxiety symptoms, child temperament, maternal anxiety and depression symptoms, violence exposure, and sociodemographic risk factors predict school-aged anxiety symptoms. This longitudinal, prospective study was conducted in a representative birth cohort (n = 1109). Structural equation modeling was used to examine hypothesized associations between risk factors measured in toddlerhood/preschool (age = 3.0 years) and anxiety symptoms measured in kindergarten (age = 6.0 years) and second grade (age = 8.0 years). Early child risk factors (anxiety symptoms and temperament) emerged as the most robust predictor for both parent-and child-reported anxiety outcomes and mediated the effects of maternal and family risk factors. Implications for early intervention and prevention studies are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Mian, Nicholas
  • Wainwright, Laurel
  • Briggs-Gowan, Margaret J
  • Carter, Alice S
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2011
  • Published In


  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Temperament
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 501
  • End Page

  • 512
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 4