Dr. Whiteside works with a young boy using a tablet device. Helping children overcome fear and anxiety

The Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Laboratory at Mayo Clinic uses an evidenced-based approach to understand and treat childhood anxiety and OCD. The laboratory's research and treatment address the multiple factors contributing to these disorders, including biological, psychological and family influences.


Although mild fears and anxieties are part of normal childhood, they are a serious concern when they begin to disrupt daily life. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders in childhood, affecting between 6% and 18% of children and teenagers.

These disorders include phobias, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, severe health anxiety (hypochondriasis) and social phobia. If left untreated, anxiety disorders — including OCD — tend to continue into adulthood and place children at increased risk of other problems, including poor academic performance, depression and drug dependence.

For these reasons, understanding the nature of anxiety problems and how best to treat them is very important.

Research goals are to increase understanding of childhood anxiety and OCD and develop state-of-the-art treatments for severe symptoms that are easily available to children and families. As part of a world-leading medical institution, the lab uses the latest in medical technology to study childhood anxiety and OCD and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments.

Clinically, the lab specializes in the ability to integrate cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacological assessments and treatments.

Patient Care

Dr. Whiteside's laboratory clinically specializes in the ability to integrate cognitive behavioral and medication assessments and advanced, evidence-based treatments through the use of outpatient services, a diagnostic clinic and intensive treatment services. Learn more about diagnosis and treatment offered through Mayo Clinic's Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Clinic.

About Dr. Whiteside

Dr. Whiteside is a board-certified clinical psychologist and the director of the Pediatric Anxiety Disorders Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is also a professor of psychology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

His research team is focused on improving access to evidence-based care for pediatric anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, through the development of effective and efficient approaches that integrate technology into the assessment and treatment process.

Dr. Whiteside has published more than 65 articles, co-authored the book "Exposure Therapy for Anxiety: Principles and Practice," and is the co-developer of Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach, an iOS application.