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Information Needs and Preferences of Parents Considering Treatment of Child Anxiety

Mak, Leanne PhD; Walker, John R. PhD; Hiebert-Murphy, Diane PhD; Altman, Gary MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: April 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 3 - p 173–180
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000388
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the information needs and preferences of parents who were making decisions concerning treatment for their child's anxiety.

Methods: Ninety-three parents were recruited from hospital-based clinics, a parent group, and a public information meeting. They completed a survey about preference for decision-making involvement, information needs, and preferences concerning source and amount of information.

Results: Most (69%) parents indicated that they prefer a collaborative decision-making role. They rated very highly the need for general information related to treatment and information related to psychosocial interventions and medication treatment. Fewer parents rated information about logistics of treatment (e.g., scheduling, cost) as highly important although this information was considered important by many parents. Direct discussions with a provider, written information, and information accessed through the internet were the most preferred sources of information. Many parents indicated a preference for substantial amounts of information about psychosocial and medication treatments.

Conclusion: Much of the information that parents want concerning treatment is not widely available. It would be helpful to develop evidence-based brochures and web information resources that focus on answering parents' questions concerning treatment of children's anxiety.

*Department of Clinical Health Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;

Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada;

Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Address for reprints: Leanne Mak, PhD, Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre, 228 Maryland St, Winnipeg, MB R3G 1L6, Canada; e-mail:

Supported in part by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grant # 102069 to J. R. Walker.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received July , 2016

Accepted December , 2016

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