Challenging thoughts for challenging tasks: Investigating the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioural intervention delivered by school staff for secondary pupils experiencing anxiety about their schoolwork

Kite, Amy (2020) Challenging thoughts for challenging tasks: Investigating the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioural intervention delivered by school staff for secondary pupils experiencing anxiety about their schoolwork. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

The wellbeing of children, adolescents and young people (CAYP) is a growing concern. Up to 20% are affected by notable anxiety, of which approximately half require specialist support. Flourishing research exploring school-based therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), highlights the benefits of collaboration with school staff, alongside the challenges posed by limited resources, training quality, facilitator competence and programme fidelity. A mixed methods design over two sequential phases was employed. Phase one investigated the impact of a CBT-based intervention implementing ‘Behavioural Experiments’ (BEs) – a cognitive restructuring tool – on general and schoolwork anxiety reported by secondary-aged pupils from a mainstream school. Four Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) delivered six BEs session to individual CAYP (aged 14-15), testing the validity of negative cognitions experienced when undertaking challenging schoolwork. In phase two, LSAs shared views about the BEs intervention via a questionnaire. Statistical analyses measured changes (pre- and post-intervention) in: general anxiety, perceptions of difficulties and engagement with motivated strategies for learning. Further analyses on CAYP schoolwork anxiety and confidence; perceived helpfulness of the BEs; and, likelihood of using BEs again were conducted. Thematic Analysis (TA) was employed to analyse phase two data. A modest reduction in general anxiety across the CAYP was found, except for one individual who reported an increase. There was general agreement that the BEs were helpful and would be considered for future use, highlighting BEs as a potential therapeutic resource to be used by trained school staff for CAYP experiencing anxiety about schoolwork. However, careful consideration of individual need and response to intervention was indicated. Participating LSAs reflected on the benefits and drawbacks of delivering an individualised therapeutic intervention in a school context, highlighting how CAYP, facilitator and systemic factors influence intervention delivery and impact. Implications for EP involvement and future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2396

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