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Background: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) has proven to be effective for anxiety-based school refusal, but it is still unknown how CBT for school refusal works, or through which mechanisms. Aims: Innovative statistical approaches for analyzing small uncontrolled samples were used to investigate the role of self-efficacy in mediating CBT outcomes for anxiety-based school refusal. Method: Participants were 19 adolescents (12 to 17 years) who completed a manual-based cognitive-behavioural treatment. Primary outcomes (school attendance; school-related fear; anxiety) and secondary outcomes (depression; internalizing problems) were assessed at post-treatment and 2-month follow-up. Results: Post-treatment increases in school attendance and decreases in fear about attending school the next day were found to be mediated by self-efficacy. Mediating effects were not observed at 2-month follow-up. Conclusions: These findings provide partial support for the role of self-efficacy in mediating the outcome of CBT for school refusal. They contribute to a small body of literature suggesting that cognitive change enhances CBT outcomes for young people with internalizing problems. Regarding methodology, the product of coefficient test appears to be a valuable way to study mediation in outcome studies involving small samples.
Aims: The purpose of this study was to investigate the cognitions of anxious school refusers. The cognitive constructs under investigation included negative cognition commonly linked to youth anxiety (i.e. negative automatic thoughts and cognitive errors) and positive automatic thoughts. Method: The cognition of school refusers (n = 50) and youth from a community sample (n = 181) was assessed with the Children's Automatic Thoughts Scale-Negative/Positive and the Children's Negative Cognitive Error Questionnaire-Revised. Results: When controlling for anxiety, school refusers were found to report more negative automatic thoughts concerning personal failure, fewer negative automatic thoughts concerning hostility, and fewer positive automatic thoughts. Negative automatic thoughts concerning personal failure and hostility, and the negative cognitive error of overgeneralizing were found to independently predict school refusal. Conclusions: The findings underscore the importance of further researching the role of cognition in the development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety-based school refusal.
Background: The current nonrandomized clinical trial explored changes over time in children with an anxiety disorder during stepped care, manual-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Methods: Clinically anxious children (8–12 years, n = 133) and their parents participated in child focused CBT (10 sessions). If assessments indicated additional treatment was necessary, participants could step up to a second and possibly third treatment phase (each 5 sessions) including more parental involvement. Results: After the first treatment phase 45% of the Intention-To-Treat sample was free of any anxiety disorder; after the second and third phase an additional 17% and 11% respectively. In total, 74% of the children no longer met criteria for any anxiety disorder following treatment. Child and parent reported anxiety and depression symptoms of children improved significantly during all treatment phases, as well as child reported anxiety sensitivity and negative affect. Children participating in more treatment showed significant improvements during additional treatment phases, indicating that late change occurred for the subgroup that had not changed during the first phase. Conclusions: Stepped care offers a standardized, assessment based, yet tailored treatment approach for children with anxiety disorders. A more intensive treatment is offered when initial CBT is insufficient, providing children additional opportunities to reach the desired outcome.
Background: The effectiveness of cognitive-behaviour therapy with young people may be influenced by a young person's capacity for self-reflection and insight. Clinicians who assess clients' proficiencies in these cognitive capacities can better tailor cognitive and behavioural techniques to the client, facilitating engagement and enhancing treatment outcome. It is therefore important that sound instruments for assessing self-reflection and insight in young people are available. Aims: The aim of the current study was to translate and adapt the Self-Reflection and Insight Scale (SRIS) for use with a child and adolescent population (Study 1), and to evaluate the psychometric properties of the resulting measure, the Self-Reflection and Insight Scale for Youth (SRIS-Y; Study 2). Method: In Study 1 (n = 145), the comprehensibility of the SRIS-Y was assessed in a community sample of children and adolescents. Study 2 (n = 215) then explored the reliability and structural, convergent, and divergent validity of the SRIS-Y. Results: The SRIS-Y was found to be comprehensible to young people, and had good reliability and structural validity. Conclusions: It appears that the SRIS-Y is a sound instrument for assessing therapy-relevant cognitive capacities in young people, of potential benefit in both research and clinical contexts. Future research foci include the predictive validity of the instrument.
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