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Predictors of childhood anxiety: A population-based cohort study

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  • Background: Few studies have explored predictors of early childhood anxiety. Objective: To determine the prenatal, postnatal, and early life predictors of childhood anxiety by age 5. Methods: Population-based, provincial administrative data (N = 19,316) from Manitoba, Canada were used to determine the association between demographic, obstetrical, psychosocial, medical, behavioral, and infant factors on childhood anxiety. Results: Risk factors for childhood anxiety by age 5 included maternal psychological distress from birth to 12 months and 13 months to 5 years post-delivery and an infant 5-minute Apgar score of ≤7. Factors associated with decreased risk included maternal age < 20 years, multiparity, and preterm birth. Conclusion: Identifying predictors of childhood anxiety is a key step to early detection and prevention. Maternal psychological distress is an early, modifiable risk factor. Future research should aim to disentangle early life influences on childhood anxiety occurring in the prenatal, postnatal, and early childhood periods.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2015 Dawn Kingston et al. This is an Open Access document distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.
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    • Kingston, D., Heaman, M., Brownell, M., & Ekuma, O. 2015. Predictors of childhood anxiety: A population-based cohort study. PloS One, 10(7), e0129339.