Researchers from the University of Oxford, and supported by the NIHR ARC OxTV, have undertaken a comprehensive review into the lasting consequences and economic implications of child anxiety problems. Their findings, shared in a video abstract, emphasise the importance of understanding and addressing this prevalent issue.
Professor Mara Violato, a health economist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and senior-author noted: "Anxiety problems are very common... over a quarter of people experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their life, and very often difficulties emerge during childhood and adolescence."
Despite its prevalence, there remains a significant gap in understanding the full scope of child anxiety problems and their associated costs.
The study, a systematic review and meta-analysis, encompassed 83 papers. Jack Pollard, lead author and health economist also based in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, shared: "Anxiety problems were associated with worse outcomes in 15 different outcome domains, from mental and physical health to employment and educational outcomes, as well as higher economic costs."
Economic analyses indicate childhood anxiety results in substantial costs for children, families, and wider society, estimated around £4000 annually per child in direct and indirect expenses. However, studies with longer-term follow-up are needed.
The research paints a picture of the multifaceted challenges children with anxiety problems face. Highlighting the broader implications, Mara Violato said, "Our findings suggest that child anxiety problems persist in later childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood... The finding that child anxiety disorders are associated with substantial child, family, and societal level economic costs also underscores the importance of effective preventative and interventional policies."
The team's dedication to shedding light on this topic is evident. Their work serves as a valuable resource for clinicians, policymakers, and the public.
The takeaway? Identifying and treating childhood anxiety problems early could prevent much distress and expense down the road.
Read the full paper here:
The multifaceted consequences and economic costs of child anxiety problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Jack Pollard, Tessa Reardon, Chloe Williams, Cathy Creswell, Tamsin Ford, Alastair Gray, Nia Roberts, Paul Stallard, Obioha C. Ukoumunne, Mara Violato