FIU researchers seeking participants for clinical trial focusing on anxiety problems among children

Now in the second year of a five-year study, participating families will receive state-of-the-art treatments and contribute to advancing knowledge of better treatments.

The Child and Anxiety Phobia Program is beginning the second year of a clinical trial, and researchers are looking for more participants from the FIU community and surrounding area. The program is part of FIU’s Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center (CFPRC) and Department of Psychology, which received a $3.3 million grant last October to take a close look at anxiety problems among children.

Anxiety is considered to be one of the most prevalent problems of childhood and adolescence that can interfere with family relationships, school performance and friendships as well as cause significant personal distress. There is little evidence that these problems are “outgrown.” The types of anxiety problems children may experience include trouble separating from parents, avoidance of social situations, as well as frequent and uncontrollable worrying.

“Children whose anxiety problems go untreated are likely to continue to have anxiety problems as adults,” says Wendy K. Silverman, CFPRC director. “Anxiety problems in children also appear to put children at risk for other emotional and behavioral probles such as depression and substance abuse.”

Researchers at the Child and Anxiety Phobia Program are using state-of-the-art treatments for reducing anxiety problems. As part of the five-year study, they are also comparing the effects of different forms of parental involvement in the child’s treatment versus an individual treatment format. Silverman and colleague William M. Kurtines received funding in 2008 from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct this randomized controlled clinical trial as part of the center’s ongoing research activities.

Children between the ages of 8 to 14 years old and a parent or guardian are eligible for participation. If you believe your child has been experiencing any of the anxiety problems described above (i.e., trouble separating from parents, avoidance of social situations, frequent and uncontrollable worrying), he or she may be eligible for the treatment program, which consists of an hourly meeting once a week. Enrollment is ongoing and families are compensated financially for participating in the study’s evaluation procedures. If your child is eligible for treatment, the fee is based on a sliding scale. All assessment and treatment services are provided on FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

“In addition to receiving state-of-the-art, scientifically based treatments, families’ participation will contribute to advancing our knowledge of better treatments,” says Kurtines. “This is of critical importance in the ever-more stressful and challenging world in which we live.”

FIU’s Child and Family Psychosocial Research Center specializes in child and family psychosocial interventions and prevention programs. Silverman and Kurtines have been successful in obtaining continuous funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. Since 1989, the center has brought in millions of dollars for research.

For more information, contact project directors Carla Marin or Jasmin Rey at the Child Anxiety and Phobia Program at 305-348-1937.

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