Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

William Pfohl, Doris Redfield, Robert Simpson

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Children experience unavoidable stress and anxiety. Excessive stress, or distress, and anxiety may negatively effect children's emotional, mental, and physical functioning. Examples of distress reactions in children include fears, aggression, frustration, low self-esteem, apathy, low academic achievement, poor peer relationships, fatigue, and developmental delays. Prolonged reactions to distress in children could cause severe emotional, mental, and physical problems when children reach adulthood. It is important that children learn effective strategies to cope with distress and anxiety. There is a dearth of research data regarding children and coping skills training for dealing with stress and anxiety. Therefore, the Children's Anxiety Management Program (CAMP) was implemented with forty-eight fourth grade children. CAMP was also compared to the Developing Understanding of Self and Others (DUSO) program in order to examine the effectiveness of CAMP to reduce fourth grade children's school anxiety, self-disparagement, and defensiveness. The CAMP children were taught methods to cope with stress and anxiety (e.g. relaxation training, problem-solving skills) by two regular classroom teachers. A consultant helped the DUSO children discuss their own concerns and worries as DUSO used no formal training. The consultant also taught the necessary CAMP skills to the teachers. The CAMP program allowed for outcome and process evaluations. The evaluations used teacher and student logbooks, discussions with teachers and students, and analysis of scores on an anxiety scale. The CAMP and DUSO children participated in their respective program during an eight-week period, approximately 75-90 minutes a week. The hypotheses stated that (a) the CAMP children should significantly lower their anxiety and reduce their anxiety significantly more than the DUSO children. The outcome was measured on the Children's School Questionnaire (CSQ). The hypotheses were not supported as (a) there were no significant treatment effects F(1, 48) = 1.87, p >.05 and (b) as only the comparison group significantly reduced anxiety scores F(1, 48) = 3.26, p < .05 between pretest and posttest and pretest and follow-up. Also, there were significant differences of anxiety scores (CAMP and DUSO) between repeated measurements F(2, 48) = 15.88, p < .001; and there were significant reductions of anxiety in the teachers by measures condition F(2, 48) = 7.88, p < .01 for teacher (1) between pretest and posttest and pretest and follow-up. There was a significant increase of defensiveness levels between pretest and follow-up on the measurement condition F(1, 48) = 3.88, p<.05 for all children (CAMP and DUSO). - There were no significant differences for the self-disparagement factor on any of the measures.


Child Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences