Phobias Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

At Children’s Hospital Boston, we’re dedicated to proving the effectiveness of our treatment approaches through rigorous scientific testing. Our research program is one of the largest and most active of any pediatric hospital in the world. 

Each day, we work toward important discoveries that propel new advances in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental and behavioral disorders. This research reinforces our ongoing commitment to enhancing mental health for all children and adolescents. 

Some of our research projects with potential implications for treating phobias and other anxiety disorders are:

  • Michelle Bosquet, PhD, staff psychologist at Children’s, is examining how infants and children develop psychologically when their mothers are suffering from anxiety.  
  • Almost seven million Americans suffer from chronic anxiety. Now, David Clapham, MD, PhD, of Children’s Department of Cardiology, with collaborators, has found a molecular "on-off" switch for innate fear that could potentially lead to a more effective anti-anxiety drug. Unlike fear that’s learned from experience, innate fear is embedded in our genes (enabling us to escape from predators, for example). Innate fear gone awry is thought to be a component of anxiety disorders. Read more
  • David R. DeMaso, MD, Children’s psychiatrist-in-chief, is exploring the use of new technologies to help physically ill children cope with—and communicate—their feelings of worry and stress.
  • Baruch Krauss, MD, attending physician in Children’s Division of Emergency Medicine, is studying new treatments—both those that involve medication, and those that do not—to help relieve acute anxiety in children who are undergoing procedures in the Emergency Room.
  • Jennifer LeBovidge, PhD, and her colleagues in the Children’s Division of Immunology are conducting a study of a group approach to treating children with food allergies. They aim to determine how to best help these children, and their parents, manage their allergies and cope with related feelings of anxiety. 

Clinical trials

It’s possible that your child will be eligible to participate in one of Boston Children's Hospital's current clinical trials. These studies are useful for a multitude of reasons:

Some trials are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular drug, treatment or therapy on a specific disease; others help doctors to better understand how and why certain conditions occur. At any given time, we have hundreds of clinical trials underway. Of course, your motives as a parent needn’t be entirely altruistic—you’ll naturally want to know how taking part in a trial can immediately benefit your child. If your child’s physician recommends participation in one of Children’s clinical trials, that likely means that your child’s physician believes that the plan outlined in that trial represents the absolute best, latest care your child can possibly receive.

And participation in any clinical trial is completely voluntary: We will take care to fully explain all elements of the treatment plan prior to the start of the trial, and you may remove your child from the medical study at any time.

Find a clinical trial

To search current and upcoming clinical trials at Children’s, go to:

To search the NIH’s list of clinical trials taking place around the world, go to: