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This paper describes the rationale for and development of an online cognitive-behavioural treatment for child and adolescent anxiety (BRAVE–ONLINE). It highlights the challenges involved in adapting a clinic-based intervention for delivery using the internet, with separate sessions for parents and their children (or adolescents). We outline strategies to ensure that young people remain engaged in online therapy, and describe techniques designed to optimize the alliance between clients and the online therapist. Two case studies are presented that illustrate the practical and technical aspects of implementing the intervention, and demonstrate the feasibility of achieving successful outcomes using online delivery of CBT for child and adolescent anxiety. However, firm conclusions regarding the efficacy of this approach cannot be drawn until the results of randomized controlled trials are available. The paper identifies directions for future research.
The purpose of this study was to test whether children and adolescents with anxiety disorders exhibit selective processing of threatening facial expressions in a pictorial version of the emotional Stroop paradigm. Participants named the colours of filters covering images of adults and children displaying either a neutral facial expression or one displaying the emotions of anger, disgust, or happiness. A delay in naming the colour of a filter implies attentional capture by the facial expression. Anxious participants, relative to control participants, exhibited slower colour naming overall, implying greater proneness to distraction by social cues. Children exhibited longer colour-naming latencies as compared to adolescents, perhaps because young children have a limited ability to inhibit attention to distracting stimuli. Adult faces were associated with slower colour naming than were child faces, irrespective of facial expressions in both groups, possibly because adults provide especially salient cues for children and adolescents. Inconsistent with prediction, participants with anxiety disorders were not slower than healthy controls at naming the colours of filters covering threatening expressions (i.e., anger and disgust) relative to filters covering faces depicting happy or neutral expressions.
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