Here are some important facts and statistics about anxiety and anxiety disorders in children:
Fact #1: The early onset of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders tend to emerge earlier than other types of mental illness, with a median age of onset of 11-years-old (compared to 30 for mood disorders; Peterson, 2008) On average, separation anxiety and most phobias begin to appear by age 7. Panic and obsessive compulsive disorders are often seen by age 10.
Fact #2: Anxiety problems are often misdiagnosed
Anxiety disorders are sometimes misdiagnosed as ADD because the anxiety keeps children from being able to concentrate on the task at hand.
Fact #3: Children experience more anxiety today
Some studies suggest that the average high school student today has the same anxiety level as a psychiatric patient did in the 1950s. (Clark, 2011) Between the pressures of school and peers and popular culture and any extra-curricular activities a child may have, most parents do not appreciate that a child’s life can be every bit as stressful as their own.
Child Anxiety Statistics
Statistic #1: Some studies have found that 41% of preschoolers with an anxiety disorder are still impaired by the condition 4 years later. (Kluger, 2011) So while many kids can outgrow or overcome an anxiety disorder, in other cases it will not go away on its own.
Statistic #2: Kids tend to endure more anxiety than their parents assume they do. A 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 28% of teens and 14% of tweens said they “worried a lot” or “a great deal,” and to an extent far greater than what their parents were aware of. (Jensen, 2013)
Statistic #3: A 2018 Pew Research Center study found 70% of teens say anxiety is a major problem for their generation.
Statistic #4: A 2018 study in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics found that the number of children ages 6 to 17 whose parents said they were currently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder grew from 3.5% in 2007 to 4.1% in 2012. (Petersen 2018)
Statistic #5: According to a 2013 report by the CDC, about 1.8 million children under the age of 18 have anxiety disorders. Some studies also suggest that as many as 10% of children suffer from specific phobias. (Landro, 2013)
Statistic #6: According to a 2010 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology nearly a third of kids will have an anxiety disorder by age 18. (Petersen, 10-29-2019)
Statistic #7: Anxiety rates among youth rose 20% between 2007 and 2012. (Sobieraji-Westfall & Grossman-Kantor, 2020)