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Interventions to Reduce Anxiety for Gifted Children and Adolescents, Gaesser

Study Demonstrates EFT’s Increased Effectiveness as Compared to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) for Reducing Anxiety in Gifted Children and Adolescents

Citation: Gaesser, A. H. (2014). Interventions to Reduce Anxiety for Gifted Children and Adolescents. Doctoral Dissertations, Paper 377 Click here to view Abstract and download Full Paper http://goo.gl/3Xar0Q

Abstract

This study examined the anxiety levels of gifted students, as well as the effectiveness of two interventions: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Using the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale-2 (RCMAS-2), Phase I of this study examined anxiety levels in gifted youth (n = 153) participating in private and public gifted education programs, grades 6-12, in two Northeastern states. ANOVA analyses indicated that gender (F [1, 149] = 13.52, p< .001, h2= .08) and school setting (F [2, 149] = 21.41, p< .001, h2= .23) were significant factors in the anxiety levels of the gifted students.

In Phase II, a randomized controlled research design was used to investigate the effectiveness of CBT and EFT interventions. Participants (n = 63) identified with moderate to high levels of anxiety on the pre-treatment RCMAS-2 were assigned to one of three treatment groups: a) CBT, b) EFT, or c) a wait-listed control group.

Treatment outcomes were measured using the RCMAS-2 post treatment scores and analyzed using ANCOVA with pre- treatment RCMAS-2 scores serving as the covariate. EFT participants (n= 20, M = 52.163, SE = 1.42) showed significant reduction in anxiety levels when compared to the control group (n= 21, M = 57.93, SE = 1.39, p = .005). CBT participants (n= 21, M = 54.82, SE = 1.38) did not differ significantly from either the EFT or control groups (p = .12 and p = .18, respectively).

Editor’s Note

This 2014 paper is a doctoral dissertation by the author made available for free with open access by the University of Connecticut Graduate School at DigitalCommons@UConn. This study examined the anxiety levels of gifted students, as well as the effectiveness of EFT and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) in their ability to help reduce anxiety for gifted children and adolescents. Experiment phase 1 studied anxiety in 153 gifted youth, grades 6-12, while phase 2 examined 63 gifted adolescents identified with moderate to high levels of anxiety. The youth either received three private sessions of one of the interventions are was assigned to a wait list control group. The participants who received EFT from a licensed social worker, showed a statistically significant reduction in total anxiety levels. The CBT intervention group scored lower anxiety levels than those in the control group, but did not meet the level needed for significance The RCMAS-2 was used for anxiety measurement and is one of the most extensively used anxiety scales for children and was used to measure pre and post intervention.