Only 1 in 5 Children With Anxiety Reach Stable Remission

June 1, 2018

Only about 1 in 5 children and adolescents with anxiety reach stable remission, according to new research.

This finding emerged from the Child/Adolescent Extended Long-Term Study, which included 319 youths aged 10.9 to 25.2 years who were originally enrolled in the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study. Each participant had diagnoses of separation, social, and/or generalized anxiety disorders.

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The Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule and various questionnaires were used to assess participants annually.

Results revealed that only 22% of participants were in stable remission, whereas 30% remained chronically ill, and 48% relapsed. Remission status was not associated with any particular form of treatment over the course of follow-up.

Those with acute response to treatment were less likely to be chronically ill (odds ratio 2.73). Several other variables, such as male gender, were predictors of stable remission from anxiety disorders.

Contrastingly, factors including female gender, poor family communication, negative life events, and a diagnosis of social phobia were associated with a greater likelihood of having chronic illness.

“Findings suggest that acute positive response to anxiety treatment may reduce risk for chronic anxiety disability; identified predictors can help tailor treatments to youth at greatest risk for chronic illness,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Ginsburg GS, Becker-Haimes EM, Keeton C, et al. Results from the Child/Adolescent Extended Long-Term Study (CAMELS): primary anxiety outcomes [Published online May 9, 2018]. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.