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The development of worry throughout childhood: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children data

Citation
Caes L, Fisher E, Clinch J, Tobias JH & Eccleston C (2016) The development of worry throughout childhood: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children data, British Journal of Health Psychology, 21 (2), pp. 389-406.

Abstract
Objectives 

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood and adolescence; however, longitudinal research investigating the development of worrisome thoughts throughout childhood is lacking. This study investigated mothers' perspectives on their child's normal development of worry as the cognitive component of anxiety and its impact on child functioning in a longitudinal population-based cohort.
Methods 
The data for this study were extracted from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Mothers (N = 2,227) reported on their child's worry content, frequency, control, emotional disruption, and interference when their child was 7, 10, and 13 years old using the parent component of the Development and Well-being Assessment. At age 10 and 13, pubertal status was assessed using children's self-report of pubic hair developmental progress. 
Results 
Mothers reported a peak of worrisome thoughts at 10. Emotional disruption was highest at 10, and the highest level of interference in daily life was observed at 13, especially for girls. Advanced pubertal status and worry frequency were positively associated for boys at 10 and girls at 13. Advanced puberty at 10 was also associated with overall higher worry frequency and emotional disruption. 
Conclusions 
Findings are discussed within a developmental framework outlining the normal development of worrisome thoughts, associated distress, and interference throughout early adolescence. Increased knowledge of normative worry could be informative to further our understanding of adolescence as a vulnerable period for the development of mental health problems, such as generalized anxiety disorder. © 2015 The British Psychological Society.

Keywords
worry; anxiety; child development; emotional disruption; interference

StatusPublished
AuthorsCaes Line, Fisher Emma, Clinch Jacqui, Tobias Jon H, Eccleston Christopher
Publication date05/2016
Publication date online13/12/2015
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN 1359-107X
LanguageEnglish

Journal
British Journal of Health Psychology: Volume 21, Issue 2 (2016)

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