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An examination of an anxiety intervention for young children: Little Champions

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Objective: Child anxiety is known for its high prevalence rates, early onset, and potentially devastating consequences for future functioning if left untreated (Mian, 2014). Researchers argue that early intervention can mitigate the negative consequences of anxiety (Hirshfeld-Becker & Biederman, 2002). This feasibility study examined an anxiety intervention, Little Champions (LC) -- a 7-week group anxiety intervention for children ages 4-7 years and their parents -- in reducing symptoms of child anxiety. Secondary objectives were to assess if results were maintained at 1-month post-test, assess the impact of LC on parent functioning, and determine the effectiveness of a LC intervention delivered to parents alone compared to when parents and children attended sessions together. Method: Non-identifying data from 46 children aged 48- to 90- months (M=75.90 months, SD=12.20), and their parents from three community Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) centers in the Fraser Region (Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission) of BC were collected as part of a program review. Families were assigned to participate in the LC parent-child condition (n = 16), LC parent-only condition (n = 15) or waitlist condition (n = 15). Families were assessed at pre-test, post-test and 1-month follow-up assessment. Child outcome variables included anxiety, behavioural inhibition and global impressions of treatment gains by clinicians. Parent outcome variables were parent anxiety, parent stress and parent self-efficacy. Results: Children from both treatment groups failed to show differences in anxiety symptoms compared to the waitlist group. Parents from both treatment groups showed an increase in parent self-efficacy across time. Further there was a statistically detectable difference between the treatment conditions and the waitlist condition on parent efficacy. There were no differences between the two treatment conditions (LC delivered to parents with and without children present) for all measures. Conclusion: Despite improving parenting efficacy, the LC intervention is not acceptable at this time for use in clinical practice with young children with anxiety symptoms. Further there were no differences between the two intervention groups at post-test.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: LeMare, Lucy
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