For anxiety a single intervention is not enough

Science Daily |May 2018 | For anxiety, a single intervention is not enough 

A study that tracked over 300 young people aged between 10-25 with a diagnosis of separation, social or general anxiety disorder has shown that irrespective of the treatment they receive, only 1 in 5 will stay well over the longer- term 
via Science Daily).

The full news article is available here 


The article has been published in  Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

To report anxiety outcomes from the multisite Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multi-modal Extended Long-term Study (CAMELS). Rates of stable anxiety remission (defined rigorously as the absence of all DSM-IV TR anxiety disorders across all follow-up years) and predictors of anxiety remission across a 4-year period, beginning 4 to 12 years after randomization to 12 weeks of medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), their combination, or pill placebo were examined. Examined predictors of remission included acute treatment response, treatment assignment, baseline child and family variables, and interim negative life events.


Data were from 319 youths (age range 10.9−25.2 years; mean age 17.12 years) originally diagnosed with separation, social, and/or generalized anxiety disorders and enrolled in the multi-site Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS). Participants were assessed annually by independent evaluators using the age-appropriate version of the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule and completed questionnaires (e.g., about family functioning, life events, and mental health service use).


Almost 22% of youth were in stable remission, 30% were chronically ill, and 48% were relapsers. Acute treatment responders were less likely to be in the chronically ill group (odds ratio = 2.73; confidence interval = 1.14−6.54; p < .02); treatment type was not associated with remission status across the follow-up. Several variables (e.g., male gender) predicted stable remission from anxiety disorders.


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.

Full reference:

Ginsburg, G. et al |2018| Results From the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Extended Long-Term Study (CAMELS): Primary Anxiety Outcomes | Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry | 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.03.017


New study at York to help children overcome severe phobias uses new techniques

University of York | May 2018 | How our research could help children overcome severe phobias

Researchers at the University of York are testing a new form of therapy based of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques. The new approach, called One Session Treatment, can be delivered during one three- hour session.  This means that the therapy sessions will be less time-consuming and disruptive for children and potentially a more efficient way of treating children.


Prior to the sessions there will be  a pre-assessment of one hour’s duration, after this the child will experience exposure therapy, where the patient is gradually exposed to whatever they are afraid of. The child’s confidence continues to be developed at home- with them continuing to confront the thing they are scared of. The children will be followed up six months later to assess the effectiveness of the therapy.

The trial is recruiting over 280 children aged 7 to 16-years-old across a number of NHS trusts and other services in the North of England, Norfolk and Suffolk. It is run in conjunction with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield.

The study will address a gap in the literature which Professor Barry Wright lead author of the study says OST is not currently widely used which he attributes to there being no randomised controlled trials  in the UK in children. (University of York)

The full story is available from the University of York New study at York to help children overcome severe phobias uses new techniques

Young people with hay fever are more likely to experience anxiety, finds study

Science DailyMay 2018| Adolescents with hay fever have higher rates of anxiety and depression

A new review of studies that examined the impact of hayfever on adolescents (10-17 years of age) found that adolescents with hay fever had higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a lower resistance to stress. The adolescents also exhibited more hostility, impulsivity and changed their minds often.

The lead author of the study Dr. Blaiss said, “allergy symptoms can be different in adolescents than in adults or children. Lack of sleep or poor sleep are both huge issues for adolescents, and it can be made worse by the symptoms of hay fever with or without eye allergies. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on school attendance, performance and academic achievement.” (via Science Daily).
The full news item is available from Science Daily

Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

mental health young people
Image source:

The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here 

Does a lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep affect parenting?

May 2018 | Sleep better, parent better: Study shows link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting | Science Daily

A US study that looked at maternal sleep and parenting has found that for mothers who fell asleep easily or who slept for long periods their adolescent children reported lower levels of permissive parenting. By contrast, mothers  were not receiving enough sleep, or receiving poor quality sleep, it had an effect on their levels of permissiveness with their adolescents. The researchers studied over 200 mothers and their adolescent children (average age 15). The mothers wore wearable technology that monitored their sleep quality, the young people completed questionnaires about their perception of their mothers’ parenting via Science Daily .


The full news article from Science Daily can be accessed here 


Utilizing a multi‐method design, the present study examined the association between maternal sleep, assessed via actigraphy and self‐reports, and permissive parenting (e.g. lax, inconsistent discipline) during adolescence, as well as the extent to which this association differed by mothers’ race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The sample was comprised of 234 mothers (M age = 41.76 years, SD = 6.25; 67% European‐American, 31% African‐American, 2% other race/ethnicities) and 237 adolescents (113 boys, 124 girls; M age = 15.80 years, SD = 0.80; 66% European‐American, 34% African‐American). Mothers’ sleep duration (actual sleep minutes) and quality (sleep efficiency, latency, long wake episodes) were assessed using actigraphy. Mothers also reported on their sleep problems and adolescents reported on mothers’ permissive parenting behaviours. Results revealed that actigraphy‐based longer sleep duration and shorter sleep latency were associated with lower levels of permissive parenting. Further, mothers’ race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status moderated the association between actigraphy‐based sleep quality (i.e. sleep efficiency, long wake episodes) and permissive parenting. Specifically, a negative association between sleep efficiency and permissive parenting was evident only for African‐American mothers. In addition, a positive association between more frequent night wakings and permissive parenting was evident only for mothers from lower socioeconomic status households. The findings highlight the benefits of longer and higher‐quality sleep for reducing the risk of permissive parenting, especially among ethnic minority mothers and mothers from lower socioeconomic status households.

Full reference:

Tu, K.M. Elmore‐Staton,  L, Buckhalt, J.A., El‐Sheikh, M. | The link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting during late adolescence |  J Sleep Res2018;e12676.

The article has been published in the Journal of Sleep Research
It can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here


University of Huddersfield researchers: Children with autism do engage in imaginary play

University of Huddersfield | May 2018 | Children with Autism are able to create imaginary friends 

A new study demonstrates that children with Austistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are able to create imaginary friends. This challenges previous research that suggests children with autism are unable to engage in imaginary play (via Science Daily).


The researchers used over 200 questionnaires completed by UK and US parents of children diagnosed with ASD and parents of children with typical development (TD). Although the findings show that children with a diagnosis of ASD were less likely to create an imaginary friend (16.2 per cent) compared to 42 per cent of their TD peers; they were older when they begin engaging in this kind of play, and were also more likely to play with a   “personified object” such as a stuffed toy or doll. The researchers argue that there is no difference in the quality of the play the children engage in.

According to Dr Paige Davis, of the University of Huddersfield and the lead author of the study: “The finding that children diagnosed with ASD even spontaneously create such imaginary companions refutes existing beliefs that they are not imagining in the same way as typically developing children.”

The press release is available from the University of Huddersfield 

The article is published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, it can be requested by Rotherham NHS staff here 

Book dispensing machines increase children’s learning opportunities, according to NYU study

Science Daily | April 2018 | Proximity to books and adult support enhance children’s learning opportunities

A project led by researchers at New York University (NYU) used a vending machine to dispense books in low-income neighbourhoods.  The project was part of a community-wide effort to improve access to books during the summer months, when  children have historically had  less access to books. Focusing  in areas that were “book deserts”,  four low-income areas received vending machines that dispensed free fiction and non-fiction books, with the stock rotating every fortnight to encourage return visits.  Books in the  machines were arranged by age ranges; individuals could review the books, make a selection, and receive a book free of charge (via Science Daily).

The researchers found  that over 64000 books were distributed during the project. The researchers analysed traffic patterns to the vending machines, which revealed that three-fifths used them, but two-fifths did not. Brief interviews immediately following book selection were also used to provide elaboration into the reason for choosing a particular book. These showed that those who used the machines enjoyed reading, and appreciated the opportunity to have books more accessible in the community. Also, parents and grandparents were highly influential in encouraging children to select books. By contrast, those who did not choose a book cited a lack of interest in reading.  Leading the researchers to deduce that the physical proximity of books did not convert non-readers into readers, and environmental changes may not be sufficient to motivate them to enjoy reading.

This study examines a community-wide effort to promote greater access to books through the mechanisms of physical and psychological proximity. It addresses the seasonal summer slide through an innovative book distribution program in neighborhoods identified as book deserts. Four low-income neighborhoods were provided with vending machines used to dispense free children’s books over the summer months. Within a design research framework, the study was designed to capture how, why, and in what ways these machines were used in communities. Results indicated that providing greater access through close physical proximity to books and greater adult support enhanced children’s opportunities to learn.

Full reference:  Neuman, S.B. &  Knapczyk, J. J. | Reaching Families Where They Are: Examining an Innovative Book Distribution Program| Urban Education | Doi:

The full article may be downloaded from Sage