Cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety disorders in youth: Treatment specificity and mediation effects Dissertation

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Hernandez, Ileana


  • The present study investigated the efficacies of Individual CBT (ICBT), Parent Relationship Skill Training (RLST, which targets increasing parental acceptance of youth and increasing autonomy granting) and Parent Reinforcement Skills Training (RLST, which targets increasing parental positive reinforcement and decreasing negative reinforcement). The specific aims were to examine treatment specificity and mediation effects of parenting variables. ICBT was used as a baseline comparison condition.

    The sample consisted of 253 youth (ages 5-16 years; M = 9.38; SD = 2.42) and their parents. To examine treatment outcome and specificity, the data were analyzed using analysis of variance within a structural equation modeling framework. Mediation was analyzed via structural equation modeling using MPlus.

    Results indicated that ICBT, RLST, and RFST 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). RLST was associated with incremental reduction in youth anxiety symptoms beyond ICBT, as per youth report. Treatment specificity effects were found for participants in RFST in terms of parental reinforcement, as per parent report only. Treatment mediation was not found for any of the hypothesized parenting variables (i.e., parental acceptance, parental autonomy granting, parental reinforcement). The results support the use of CBT involving only the youth and the parent and youth together for treating youth 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 youth anxiety treatment.

publication date

  • June 11, 2014


  • anxiety
  • cognitive behavior therapy
  • randomized clinical trial
  • treatment
  • youth

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)