Anxiety in Children

Development and Evaluation of a Professional Online Training Course to Support Teachers in Identifying and Responding to Anxiety in Children

Principal investigator: Rebecca Lerman

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common disorders in childhood and are associated with significant distress and impairment. Research conducted in the United Kingdom has shown that teachers report difficulty identifying anxiety in children and distinguishing it from other types of mental health problems (Rothì et al., 2006). This is concerning given that teachers are the most commonly sought source of support by parents of children with an emotional disorder, with nearly half (47%) reporting that teachers were their primary contact when seeking help and advice (Green et al., 2005). These findings highlight the need for training promoting teacher understanding of anxiety, as well as their ability to communicate and work with parents and other professionals involved in the child’s care.

The objective of this research is to develop and evaluate a professional online training course aimed at improving teacher confidence, knowledge and skills in identifying and managing child anxiety, thereby reducing anxiety and associated impairment in the school setting. This research will also examine whether these outcomes are influenced by teacher characteristics (gender, years teaching experience, position) and child gender, as these factors have previously been linked to teacher recognition and responses to child anxiety (Lerman, 2013; Loades & Mastroyannopoulou, 2010).