Clay's New Study Finds Strong Link Between Parental and Child Anxiety: Up to 65% of Children Show Signs of Anxiety When Parents Also Display Symptoms

By Robin Maddox, LMFT
As we continue to delve into the mental health crisis facing preschoolers, our recent research at Clay has revealed some eye-opening correlations. Our data suggests that parental anxiety and child anxiety are strongly linked, with up to 65% of children displaying signs of anxiety when a parent also shows symptoms. This highlights the importance of a holistic approach that addresses both mental health and developmental concerns.
One crucial factor to consider is family history. Mental health issues can be hereditary, so it’s essential to examine the family history of disorders like anxiety, Autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. As I always say, “If my husband and I both have brown eyes, it’s almost certain my children will have brown eyes. Similarly, if we both have anxiety and ADHD, it’s likely our kids will have these tendencies as well.” By identifying and intervening early, we can equip our children and those who care for them with the necessary skills and strategies.
Additionally, it’s crucial to understand the child’s current lived experience. This includes evaluating their education setting and community environment, as well as assessing their parents’ mental health. Trauma and marital stress can significantly impact a child’s mental health and lead to behavioral issues. By taking a closer look at these factors, we can work towards a more comprehensive approach to addressing the mental health crisis facing our preschoolers.