Evidence-based assessment and intervention for anxiety in school psychology

Nina D. Shiffrin, Keila C. Brockveld, Lauren F. McLellan, Erika Crawford, Elana Kagan, Jennifer L. Hudson, Philip C. Kendall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems that children and adolescents experience worldwide, including in Australia. Anxiety is an innate reaction to a real and/or perceived threat. Although everyone experiences anxiety, youth with anxiety disorders experience excessive, pervasive and often unfounded fear or worry that can negatively impact ones’ academic, social and family life. When left untreated anxiety can lead to a number of mental health problems, as well as academic underachievement. Schools represent an ideal setting for the assessment and treatment of anxiety in youth given that youth spend the majority of their day at school and often display anxiety there. School personnel are uniquely able to identify the emergence of anxiety and can provide treatment therefore limiting common barriers of transportation and scheduling. Determination of clinical levels of anxiety is indicated by the level of interference and distress in the child’s life. Well-validated and commonly used measures to assess this include measures such as the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, and the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale. The most efficacious psychological treatment for youth with anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioural therapy, which teaches youth skills to reduce anxiety to manageable levels by developing more helpful thinking patterns and reducing behavioural avoidance. It is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of identifying children at risk within the school setting, and to consider ethical and legal issues related to delivering treatment within the school setting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Australian school psychology
EditorsMonica Thielking, Mark D Terjesen
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319451664
ISBN (Print)9783319451640
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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