3. When Anxiety Takes Over—Family Accommodation

  1. Eli R. Lebowitz and
  2. Haim Omer

Published Online: 17 DEC 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118589366.ch3

Treating Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety: A Guide for Caregivers

Treating Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety: A Guide for Caregivers

How to Cite

Lebowitz, E. R. and Omer, H. (2013) When Anxiety Takes Over—Family Accommodation, in Treating Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety: A Guide for Caregivers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118589366.ch3

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 DEC 2013
  2. Published Print: 8 MAY 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118121016

Online ISBN: 9781118589366



  • childhood anxiety;
  • disruptive behaviors;
  • emotional blackmail;
  • family accommodation;
  • parent behavior


This chapter focuses on family accommodation, which is described as the changes made to the family life to reduce a child's anxiety. This particular aspect of family involvement in a child's anxiety has important implications for both individual and family-based treatment. In the context of childhood anxiety, accommodation is most often reported by parents, but siblings too are frequently involved in accommodating behavior. Accommodation typically includes two related categories of changes to parent behavior. These categories are participation in behavior related to anxiety and modification of family routines. Some parents accommodate to the child's anxiety out of a wish to help the child and reduce the child's distress, and in other cases the child may forcibly impose accommodation on the family. Some children impose accommodation forcefully through various means such as “emotional blackmail” or disruptive behaviors. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the prevalence, significance, and implication of family accommodation.