Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pittman, Laura

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


The present study aimed to examine the efficacy of a parent-based workshop for child anxiety adapted from a novel parent-based intervention, Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE). This study expanded upon the current literature as the intervention was conducted with a sample consisting of parents with children who have selective mutism (SM). The sample included 53 parents (Mage = 40.34 years, 98% female, 77.4% White) of children who have SM symptoms. Participants were randomly assigned to the parent workshop condition (n = 26) or the waitlist control condition (n = 27). Participants in the workshop condition completed a 6-week workshop that focused on identifying, tracking, and reducing an accommodation specific to SM. Data were collected pre- and post-workshop (T1 and T2, respectively). It was predicted that participants in the workshop condition would show a greater decrease in family accommodation, family accommodation of SM, parenting stress, parent anxiety, child anxiety, SM symptoms, and child disruptive behaviors at T2 relative to T1 compared to the waitlist control group. Most hypotheses were unsupported; however, a 2x2 mixed design repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant interaction between condition and time for family accommodation of SM. Results were also trending towards significance for parent anxiety. For both outcomes, there was a significant decrease over time within the workshop group, whereas both variables were stable across time in the waitlist control group. Additionally, parents’ subjective reports of their experiences participating in the parent workshop indicated it was helpful and promoted change. Multiple design factors likely contributed to the lack of significant findings, though the results support the value of continued research in the impact of parent-only interventions for children with SM. Future research should consider different lengths and modalities of the abbreviated workshop, different individuals the workshop could target (e.g., school staff), and how interventions such as these impact families from diverse backgrounds.


139 pages




Northern Illinois University

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