Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Kathy Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joshua Nadeau, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.


Anxiety Disorders, Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, Comorbidity, Social Impairment


Anxiety disorders are considered to encompass multiple conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder and specific phobias. Related conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive and compulsive disorder. Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are a group of disorders that result in repetitive touching, picking, and/or pulling to areas of the body such as the scalp or skin (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). An anxiety disorder and a BFRB commonly co-occur in youth. This comorbid presentation produces further impairment in school attendance, peer socialization, or other functional domains. These difficulties youth experience make it pertinent to study treatment outcomes for anxious youth with a BFRB (anxiety+BFRB). The current study examined treatment differences among anxious youth (anxiety) with and without a BFRB. Specifically, the duration and overall response to exposure-based anxiety interventions, as well as resulting changes in social impairment and quality of life, were compared between the two groups. It was hypothesized that duration of treatment would be longer for youth in the comorbid group, and that there would be lower levels of quality of life and increased social impairment for the comorbid group. Data from 244 patients who received treatment at a large behavioral health clinic with locations across the country were included in this study. The patients ranged from 7-18 years of age. Independent samples t-tests were conducted to compare differences in pre- and post-treatment scores on measures of quality of life, social impairment, length of stay, and response to intervention. No statistical difference was found when comparing the anxiety only and anxiety and BFRB groups on the clinical outcome measures. Follow-up paired samples t-tests were then conducted for pre-post scores on all measures for the anxiety group. Results were statistically significant, demonstrating that scores on these measures improved with treatment. This same analysis was conducted for the comorbid group with similar results. This demonstrates that although there were no significant differences between the anxiety and comorbid group, when looking at the groups separately improvements following treatment were demonstrated. Implications for clinicians to consider when providing treatment to youth, comparisons of life satisfaction, treatment duration, and quality of life were explored.

Included in

Psychology Commons