Anxiety in Childhood: Lifespan Perspectives

Anxiety disorders emerge at different developmental points and may take different forms across the lifespan. Accordingly, after a brief coverage of the fears of the first 2 years of life, this entry focuses on the current understanding of the natural history of the anxiety disorders that emerge in early life.

The Fears of Infancy

Human infants appear to be predisposed to a small number of innate or nonassociative fears. One consistent phenomenon found in infants across various cultures, despite differences in child-rearing practices, is the fear of strangers. Anxiety around strangers develops from ages 4 to 9 months, peaking at around 12 months, and twin studies have indicated that this fear is largely genetic. Similarly, separation anxiety occurs reliably across cultures, with infants typically crying in ...

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