Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a One-Week Summer Treatment Program for Separation Anxiety Disorder

Lauren C. Santucci, Jill T. Ehrenreich, Sarah E. Trosper, Shannon M. Bennett, Donna B. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for the treatment of childhood Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and other anxiety disorders yet additional research may still be needed to better access and engage anxious youth. In this study, we investigated the acceptability and preliminary utility of a group cognitive-behavioral intervention for school-aged girls with SAD provided within an intensive, 1-week setting. The development of the proposed treatment strategy, a 1-week summer treatment program, was predicated on evidence supporting the need for childhood treatments that are developmentally sensitive, allow for creative application of intervention components, incorporate a child's social context, and ultimately establish new pathways for dissemination to the community. The summer treatment program for SAD was pilot-tested using a case-series design with 5 female children, aged 8 to 11, each with a principal diagnosis of SAD. For 4 of the 5 participants, treatment gains were evidenced by changes in diagnostic status, significant reductions in measures of avoidance, and improvements on self- and parent-report measures of anxiety symptomology. Specifically, severity of SAD symptoms decreased substantially at posttreatment for each participant and, 2 months following treatment, none of the participants met diagnostic criteria for the disorder. A fifth participant experienced substantive improvement in diagnostic status prior to the onset of treatment and, though she evidenced continued improvements following treatment, the role of the intervention in such improvements is less clear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-331
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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