Anxiety in early middle childhood - a prospective study of predictors
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Background: Research on predictors of anxiety have traditionally focused on large age groups, while studies of young school-aged children at specific age intervals remain scarce. This investigation examines factors related to the child, parent and environment at age 6 as potential predictors of anxiety symptoms at age 8. Method: This study applied data from the Trondheim Early Security Study (TESS) where parents and children of a community sample was examined when children started first grade (n = 795), and reassessed in third grade (n = 699). Symptoms of psychiatric disorders, negative life events, temperament and peer victimization were assessed at age 6 with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) and with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric assessment (CAPA) at age 8. Assessment of attachment and parent-child interaction were based on observation, and school teachers rated the children’s social skills. Results: Symptoms of anxiety and attention-deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), high negative affect, and high attachment disorganization contributed to an increase in symptoms of anxiety two years later. Parental and environmental factors were not found to be significant predictors of anxiety. Conclusion: In the light of current findings, vulnerabilities like high negative affect, high attachment disorganization, symptoms of anxiety and ADHD during early middle childhood may contribute to the development of anxiety symptoms. Interventions aimed toward such vulnerabilities, treatment or using these factors to identify high-risk children in early middle childhood might be efficacious.