Developmental trajectories of anxiety

Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in childhood and adolescence and have a high tendency to persist. Anxiety disorders typically start already during childhood and are the precursor of a range of other disorders such as major depression. Thus, it is evident that better understanding of the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders is paramount.

The goal of our research group is to better understand the developmental trajectories of anxiety and anxiety disorders on different levels with the long-term goal to enhance therapeutic responses and to create preventive strategies.


Within the SFB TRR 58/subproject Z02 the to date biggest sample of nearly 500 children and adolescents between 8 and 12 years underwent a fear conditioning and generalization paradigm and were characterized for psychological, environmental and genetic aspects. Most of these children were investigated again within a follow-up design to test which pathogenic parameters causes an anxiety disorder. Additionally, we investigate some further groups of participants – e.g. patients with anxiety disorders – with the same methods to compare the groups even with regard to prediction markers of anxiety and anxiety disorders.

For more information on the SFB TRR 58 


Furthermore, within a multicenterBMBF study (PROTECT-AD „Differential Impact of Parental Participation on Intensified Exposure-Based Psychological Interventions in Anxiety Disorders in Children (PEACH)“) the differential impact of parental participation on intensified exposure-based psychological interventions in anxiety disorders in children aged 8 to 14 years with separation anxiety, specific phobia or social anxiety were investigated within a randomized investigation design. The therapeutic response will be measured after treatment and six month after treatment.

Research methods

Our research methods range from questionnaires, behavioral experiments (discriminative conditioning, generalization) to physiological and neural measures. Moreover, genetic and epigenetic markers of children and adolescents are of interest.

Research Team

Prof. Dr. med. Marcel Romanos

Dr. rer. nat. Julia Reinhard, Post-Doktorandin
Anna Slyschak M.Sc., psychologische Doktorandin
Leonie Schneider B.Sc., Hilfswissenschaftlerin
Tania Mousikou, Hilfswissenschaftlerin
Anna Mittermeier, medizinische Doktorandin
Lillien Frey, medizinische Doktorandin
Jonas Daub, medizinischer Doktorand
Lisa Brandstetter, medizinische Doktorandin
Kimberly Mowat, medizinische Doktorandin
Julia Kühl, medizinische Doktorandin 

Selected Publications

Schiele MA, Reinhard J, Reif A, Domschke K, Romanos M, Deckert J, Pauli P 2016
Developmental aspects of fear: Comparing the acquisition and generalization of conditioned fear in children and adults.
Developmental Psychobiology 58(4):471-481.
Go to publication 

Reinhard J, Drepper C, Weber H, Schiele MA, Kneer K, Mittermeier A et al 2019 
Anxiety risk SNPs on chromosome 2 modulate arousal in children in a fear generalization paradigm.
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 1-10
Go to publication


Portraitfoto von Univ. Prof. Dr. med. Marcel Romanos

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med.
Marcel Romanos

Klinikdirektor Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie

+49 931 201-78000

Portraitfoto von Dr. rer. nat. Julia Reinhard

Dr. rer. nat.
Julia Reinhard

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

Telefon: +49 931 201-76911



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Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos
+49 931 201-78000

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Direktion / Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie des Universitätsklinikums | Margarete-Höppel-Platz 1 | 97080 Würzburg | Deutschland