- Parent-directed cognitive behavioral therapy for young anxious children: a pilot study
- Behavior Therapy
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Anxiety in children age 8 years and above has been successfully treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, the efficacy of CBT for anxious children ages 4-7 years has not, to date, been fully investigated. This paper piloted a CBT intervention targeting child anxiety that was delivered exclusively to parents of 26 children with anxiety symptoms ages 4-7 years. The intervention consisted of four 2-hour group sessions of four to six parents (couples). These group sessions were followed by four individual telephone sessions, once per week across a 4-week period. The pre- and postintervention assessment involved measures of multiple constructs of child anxiety (anxiety symptoms, children's fears, behavioral inhibition, and internalizing symptoms) from multiple informants (parents, children, and teachers). Parents also reported parenting strategies they were likely to use to manage their children's anxiety pre- and postintervention. Results indicated a significant decrease in child anxiety and behavioral inhibition as reported by parents and teachers. Furthermore, mothers reported significant increases in their use of positive reinforcement, and modeling and reassurance, and a significant decrease in their use of reinforcement of dependency directly after treatment. Taken together, parent-directed CBT appears to be an effective approach for treating children ages 4-7 years with anxiety symptoms. Limitations of the current research are discussed.
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