Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS12- #B37 - Utilization of School-Based Services Among Anxious Youth

Saturday, Nov 18
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescent Anxiety | CBT | Evidence-Based Practice

Despite the high prevalence and documented impairment associated with pediatric anxiety disorders, less than half of these youth access services. Providing school-based services addresses barriers to outpatient care and may increase the likelihood that youth will get the help they need to succeed. This study examined: 1) the frequency of school service use, and 2) demographic (gender, age, race/ethnicity), child clinical (anxiety severity and impairment, global functioning, comorbidity, classroom behavior) and family (parent psychopathology, caregiver strain) predictors of service utilization. Examining the use and predictors of school services will identify gaps in service use and lead to improvements in identifying and connecting anxious youth with needed services.


Participants included 215 anxious youth between ages 6-18 (M = 10.72 years old, 52% male, 52% White) who were enrolled in a school-based RCT for anxiety treatment; only baseline data was used for this study. Parents, children, teachers, and independent evaluators completed measures of the above predictors. Service utilization was completed by parents. Results indicated that less than half of youth received school services (e.g., seeing a school clinician, receiving special accommodations in the classroom, special education). Several statistically significant predictors (p values ranged from .001-.05) of higher total service utilization were identified (e.g., higher child anxiety severity and impairment, comorbidity, caregiver strain and parent psychopathology).


Consistent with published data, less than half of anxious youth received needed services.  Further, service use was more likely for youth who were more impaired and had comorbid symptoms. Parent-report of child functioning appeared vital in identifying youth who need services. Although this study only relied on parent report of service utilization and only assessed a limited range of school services, results suggest a need for improvements in school assessments and service referral mechanisms for anxious youth. 


This research was funded by the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences


grant # R324A120405 to the last author.

Jamie L. LoCurto

Post Doctoral Fellow
University of Connecticut
West Hartford, Connecticut

Jeffery Pella

Assistant Professor
University of Connecticut
West Hartford, Connecticut

Paige Pikulski

Research Assistant
University of Connecticut
West Hartford, Connecticut

Elizabeth Casline

Research Assistant
University of Connecticut
West Hartford, Connecticut

Kelly Drake

Anxiety Treatment Center of Maryland

Golda Ginsburg

Professor
University of Connecticut
West Hartford, Connecticut