Barbara Hoff Esbjørn
Barbara Hoff Esbjørn

Professor with special responsibilities

Primary fields of research

  • Clinical child psychology
  • Anxiety in childhood
  • Attachment
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Metacognitive theory and treatment

Current research

Center for Anxiety, CfA, is an umbrella project covering a range of treatment- and research projects regarding anxiety disorders in children. CfA consists of both clinical and experimental research projects. The aim is to create new theoretical and empirical knowledge regarding anxiety disorders in childhood. Theoretically knowledge from the attachment research and models from developmental psychopathology are integreted with existing knowledge on the development of anxiety disorders derived from cognitive and learning theories. Empirically the specificity of a number of factors involving families with anxious children are investigated.

Major research achievements:

As part of her PhD project Dr. Hoff Esbjørn conducted a national follow-up of children born before 28 weeks of gestation or with birth weights of less than 1000g (ETFOL). The study was planned and performed in close cooperation with Md. B.M. Hansen. A follow-up rate of 94% at 5 years of a total national population based on two years of premature births (n=256) and a matched control group (n=74) counts as one of the major achievements of Dr. Hoff Esbjørn.

The second major achievement has been the creation of the Center for Anxiety (CfA; see description above). CfA involves staff at different levels of academic achievement (associate professor, assistant, post.doc, ph.d. and research assistants and psychology students). The project was established summer 2007, and have received extensive funding from different grants, and among other studies conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on the effect of involving parents in treatment (n=54) with a 6 months and 3 year follow-up, a community study enrolling 1000+ children aged 9-16 years of age in Denmark (both urban and rural, east, mid and west). One of the latest projects have been to develop and pilot test a metacogntive therapy for children with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in an open trial. Theoretically CCAP investigates the following areas: i) attention control and -bias, ii) social cognitive development and emotion regulation and iii) family factors including attachment and reading behavior, and iv) metacognitions.

A third major achievement was obtaining the Marie Curie Fellowship Award for an international outgoing fellowship, investigating the role of attachment and reflective functioning on the development of anxiety with Prof. Howard Steele, at the Center for Attachment Research, New School for Social Research, NY, US. 

International and national research collaborations

Ireland: Dr. Charlotte Wilson, Trinity College, Dublin.

United Kingdom:

Professor Paul Stallard, University of Bath, Professor Adrian Wells, University of Manchester, Dr. Sam Cartwright-Hatton, University of Sussex, Dr. Cathy Creswell, University of Reading.

United States:

Professor Thomas Ollendick, Virginia Tech, Professor Philip Kendall, Temple University, Professor Howard Steele, New School for Social Research, Professor Bruce Chorpita, UCLA, Professor Wendy Silverman, Yale, US.


Professor Sue Spence, Griffith University; Professor Ron Rapee, Macquarie University, Sydney.


Professor Gorm Greisen, MD, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital, Professor Niels Bielenberg, MD, University of Southern Denmark, Professor Kerstin Plessner, M.D., BBH., Jørgen Dyrborg, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital, Hillerød.


  • Clinical child psychology
  • Anxiety disorders
  • ADHD
  • Autisme Spectrum Disorders
  • Attachment
  • Assessment
  • Intervention - cognitive behaviour and metacognitive therapy

ID: 544294