Parents Prefer Counseling Over Drugs
Parents Favor Counseling For Children's Social Anxiety Disorder
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 16, 2003 -- New research shows, most parents would rather
send their children to a therapist than treat them with medications to relieve
The survey shows that parents choose this option because they
may be concerned about the potential side effects of medications used to treat
social anxiety in children.
Researchers say social anxiety is a common childhood disorder
that can impair a child's development in many ways, such as negatively
affecting their performance in school as well as their interactions with
others. A variety of treatment options are available for the mental disorder,
but until now little was known about parents' perceptions of those treatments.
A parents' beliefs about social anxiety disorder therapies many play an
essential role in how much their child benefits from treatment, says the
researchers in a news release.
Parents Prefer Counseling
In the study, published in the October issue of the Journal
of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, researchers surveyed 190 randomly
selected parents of children ages 8 to 17 years and asked them about their
opinions of social anxiety disorder treatment and for information about their
child's level of social anxiety and previous mental health therapy.
The survey showed that parents had favorable attitudes toward
counseling, but they were less accepting of medication as a potential
treatment. Although the overall acceptability ratings for medications were
lower than for counseling, parents were not entirely opposed to medication use
but were somewhat neutral.
White parents were more accepting of both medications and
counseling to treat social anxiety disorder and perceived counseling as more
feasible than nonwhite parents.
Researchers also found that parents who had personal experience
with mental health treatment -- medication or counseling -- or had sought help
for an emotional problem were least resistant to mental health treatment for
The survey also revealed that parents of children with social
anxiety disorder had similar treatment preferences as parents of children who
did not have children with the disorder.
Researchers say the findings are in line with previous studies
that have shown parents have a preference for therapy over drug use in treating
childhood depression and attention deficit disorder.