How health anxiety can lead to worsening mental wellness in children

A study of more than 1,200 children born in the 2000s from the Danish Copenhagen Child Cohort 2000 population study showcased the seriousness of long-term impacts from health anxiety during childhood.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University released their findings in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

During the study, the young participants were assessed at age 11, then at age 16.

According to the findings: “A small subgroup of children had persistent high levels of health anxiety (HA) from late childhood to adolescence and displayed increased healthcare costs. Female sex and chronic somatic disorders at age 11 were independent risk factors of HA at age 16.”

“These findings provide potential means of early identification and of therapeutic levers. Further intervention development and evaluation are needed.”

The study was authored by Martin K. Rimvall, Pia Jeppesen, Anne Mette Skovgaard, Frank Verhulst, Else Marie Olsen, and Charlotte Ulrikka Rask.