Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Wendy K. Silverman

First Advisor's Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James Jaccard

Second Advisor's Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

William M. Kurtines

Fourth Advisor's Name

Charles A. Bleiker

Keywords

Child Anxiety, Treatment, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mediation

Date of Defense

7-15-2010

Abstract

Phobic and anxiety disorders are one of the most common, if not the most common and debilitating psychopathological conditions found among children and adolescents. As a result, a treatment research literature has accumulated showing the efficacy of cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) for reducing anxiety disorders in youth. This dissertation study compared a CBT with parent and child (i.e., PCBT) and child group CBT (i.e., GCBT). These two treatment approaches were compared due to the recognition that a child’s context has an effect on the development, course, and outcome of childhood psychopathology and functional status. The specific aims of this dissertation were to examine treatment specificity and mediation effects of parent and peer contextual variables.

The sample consisted of 183 youth and their mothers. Research questions were analyzed using analysis of variance for treatment outcome, and structural equation modeling, accounting for clustering effects, for treatment specificity and mediation effects.

Results indicated that both PCBT and GCBT produced positive treatment outcomes across all indices of change (i.e., clinically significant improvement, anxiety symptom reduction) and across all informants (i.e., youths and parents) with no significant differences between treatment conditions. Results also showed partial treatment specific effects of positive peer relationships in GCBT. PCBT also showed partial treatment specific effects of parental psychological control. Mediation effects were only observed in GCBT; positive peer interactions mediated treatment response. The results support the use CBT with parents and peers for treating childhood anxiety. The findings’ implications are further discussed in terms of the need to conduct further meditational treatment outcome designs in order to continue to advance theory and research in child and anxiety treatment.

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