Parenting strategies for reducing the risk of childhood depression and anxiety disorders: A Delphi consensus study

Marie Bee Hui Yap, Michelle Fowler, Nicola J Reavley, Anthony F Jorm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background Substantial evidence that some modifiable parental factors are associated with childhood depression and anxiety indicates that parents can play a crucial role in the prevention of these disorders in their children. However, more effective translation of research evidence is required. Methods This study employed the Delphi methodology to establish expert consensus on parenting strategies that are important for preventing depression or anxiety disorders in children aged 5-11 years. A literature search identified 289 recommendations for parents. These were presented to a panel of 44 international experts over three survey rounds, who rated their preventive importance. Results 171 strategies were endorsed as important or essential for preventing childhood depression or anxiety disorders by =90 of the panel. These were written into a parenting guidelines document, with 11 subheadings: Establish and maintain a good relationship with your child, Be involved and support increasing autonomy, Encourage supportive relationships, Establish family rules and consequences, Encourage good health habits, Minimise conflict in the home, Help your child to manage emotions, Help your child to set goals and solve problems, Support your child when something is bothering them, Help your child to manage anxiety, and Encourage professional help seeking when needed. Limitations This study relied on experts from Western countries; hence the strategies identified may not be relevant for all ethnic groups. Conclusions This study produced new parenting guidelines that are supported by research evidence and/or international experts, which can now be promoted in Western English-speaking communities to help parents protect their children from depression and anxiety disorders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330 - 338
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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