Pediatric anxiety disorders characterized as Generalized, Separation, and Social Anxiety Disorders, are chronic debilitating conditions that leave children feeling tense and isolated, both physically and emotionally. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a classification of antidepressants that can be prescribed to children diagnosed with these disorders. SSRIs have been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders in children. The purpose of this literature review was to examine and determine if there are more risks or benefits associated with SSRIs, as well as evaluate teaching and education regarding anxiety disorder medication compliance in both children and parents. A secondary purpose of this research was to provide recommendations in nursing practice to allow children to feel more involved in their medical regimen. The following databases were used for the search: CINAHL, Academic Search Premier, and Web of Science. Key terms used in the search include but are not limited to: child* and anxiety, not autism, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, OR SSRI*, OR adolsecen*, not med*, pediatric*, OR side effects. The results suggest that the benefits of SSRI therapy in children with anxiety disorder, when taken on a regularly scheduled basis, outweigh the risks, however more research aimed at compliance with SSRI therapy in children and parents is necessary. Further research analyzing children with anxiety disorders is needed to assess SSRI usage based specifically on their developmental age, and the inclusion of appropriate teaching and explanation related to their diagnoses to identifying stressors that can include behavioral therapy as well.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Dever, Kimberly


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing




Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2016