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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders in children. However, the majority of studies conducted to date have included heterogeneous samples of children combining social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder (SAD) together. Few studies have examined the efficacy of CBT to specifically treat SAD. Moreover, research on the impact of CBT for SAD in children younger than 7 years old has been very limited. To address these issues, we examined the effects of a CBT parent training programme with six children with SAD aged between 4 and 7 years using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design. Parents completed semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and daily diaries to assess their child's anxiety symptoms, parental practices and parental stress. Results indicated that five of six children no longer met the criteria for SAD diagnosis after treatment and at 3-month follow-up. Moreover, the daily diaries showed that four of six children presented a systematic favourable change of the total weekly frequency of SAD symptoms. Finally, four mothers reported a decrease in overprotection, but we observed no changes in parental stress.
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