I have had anxiety/panic disorder since I was in my early teens and my mother had it before me. I now have three boys ranging in age from 15 to 37 and all three have experienced anxiety/panic to varying degrees. I do believe that it's hereditary and I suppose there's also a chance that living in an environment with an anxious person can bring it on but most of us try desperately to hide it from our kids so I don't really know the answer - my gut tells me that it's more heredity than anything else because I also follow in my mother's footsteps with stomach issues and other health related problems and so do my sons. The one thing that's good about experiencing anxiety as a parent (if you can call it "good") is the fact that if our children do experience it themselves, we have alot more understanding and empathy for what they're going through and can sometimes be a huge help in fighting the disorder (just like my mother did for me). I think there's alot to be said about genes but I still don't think we have to be held captive by them - there's so much more out there these days in the way of medicines, therapies, etc. than there was when I was a kid that it's amazing. Even my great uncle (who I never met) began to have anxiety/depression back in the 1920's when he was about 22. He was a brilliant accountant but because he came from a VERY strict, stuffy, snobby, Irish Catholic family, they didn't understand what he was going through and considered it a "stain" on the family so put him in a sanitorium and never visited or spoke of him again. He ended up dying in there when he probably could have led a productive life had he had the kind of help that's available to us these days. So even though I do believe that, sadly, our kids can sometimes be the product of our genes (good or bad) there's alot more help out there for them than ever before and hopefully they don't have to suffer as much as we did years ago just because of ignorance.