Treatment of pathological worry in children with acceptance-based behavioural therapy and a multisensory learning aide: a pilot study

Richard Meagher*, Danuta Chessor, Vincent Jacques Fogliati

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The primary objective of this study was to provide an initial test of the efficacy of acceptance-based behavioural therapy in reducing pathological worry and anxious symptomology in children. A secondary objective was to examine the benefit of supplementing standard acceptance-based behavioural therapy with a multisensory learning aide (MSA). The MSA provides kinaesthetic, tactile, and visual stimuli to facilitate children's understanding of acceptance-based behavioural therapy principles and the development of acceptance- and mindfulness-based skills. Method: Two variations of an acceptance-based behavioural therapy treatment were administered over 8 weeks to children aged 7–11 years: a standard acceptance-based behavioural therapy treatment condition, and a condition that supplemented acceptance-based behavioural therapy with a novel MSA. Anxious symptomology and pathological worry were measured at pre-treatment and post-treatment. A program evaluation questionnaire was also administered to parents at post-treatment. Results: Results demonstrated that children in the acceptance-based behavioural therapy with a novel MSA condition reported significant reductions in worry and anxious symptomology at post-treatment. Furthermore, parents in this condition reported the model to be effective in helping their children understand concepts of acceptance, defusion, and meta-cognition. Conclusions: The present study found that acceptance-based behavioural therapy, adapted for children and supplemented with a novel multisensory aide designed specifically to enhance treatment, led to reductions in child-reported worry and parent-reported anxiety. Parental feedback suggested that the multisensory aide was highly acceptable, and that it may have facilitated children's understanding of abstract therapeutic principles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-143
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Psychologist
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


    • acceptance-based behavioural therapy
    • anxiety
    • children
    • GAD
    • mindfulness
    • treatment


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