Study: Prenatal and birth complications can lead to anxiety disorders in kids

Prenatal difficulties and birth complications were found to increase the likelihood of children developing anxiety symptoms later in life.

Researchers have used parent and child reports to determine social anxiety symptoms unveil a link between complications at birth and acuity disorders in children.

A new study published in the Journal of Infant and Child Development screened nearly 150 children between the ages of 9 and 10 for behavioral inhibition. Behavioral inhibition is a temperament that is often a predictor for the development of social anxiety disorders and is defined as the tendency to feel overwhelmed and or disengage when confronted with unfamiliar people, places or situations.


Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!


“This study sets the stage for future longitudinal work examining whether childhood temperament is a developmental path by which birth complications lead to social anxiety symptoms,”  explains the study’s lead author, Dr. Santiago Morales, of the University of Maryland.

.The research also concluded that prenatal difficulties were found to increase the likelihood of children developing anxiety symptoms later in life and behavioral inhibition served as a pathway between birth complications and social anxiety symptoms.

Data intimates a growing crisis

According to the Journal Of Developmental and Behavioral  Pediatrics anxiety and depression are on the rise in American youths. Citizens between the ages of 6 and 17 experienced a 20% rate increase of anxiety and depression diagnosis between 2007 and 2012.  Ladders previously reported the various societal factors that have caused these numbers to surge, and now evidence further examines the biological predispositions that energize the pervasive decline in mental health.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the children of parents that attended therapy were less likely to suffer from it themselves.

“Every child anxiety symptom is likely to have a matching accommodation on the part of the parents.” explains the study’s lead author Eli Lebowitz. “These accommodations are well-intentioned but tend to lead to more anxiety over time and to greater impairment for both the child and the family overall.”

Because it might be harder for young children to both identify and articulate feelings of inadequacy or chemical imbalances it’s important that parents establish a relationship conducive to open communication. Reminders of just how ubiquitous stress and anxiety conditions are can go a long way in consoling adolescents that feel overwhelmed by the effects.


You might also enjoy…

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.