The long-term impact of anxiety disorders in children can affect their social interactions, personal relationships and future academic/career progression. This can result in family dysfunction, substance abuse and/or other mental disorders (Allgulander & Lavori 1991; Burton 2006 as cited in Manassis et al 2009 p 1).
Research in this area is extensive and in order to look at a more specific way of treating anxiety related disorders in young children the selected paper, ‘Evaluating a cognitive behavioural therapy group program for anxious five to seven year old children: A pilot study’ (Monga et al 2009) has been chosen to assess the teams particular use of research methods, data analysis and what the outcome of an adapted form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has on treating anxious 5-7 year olds. Research Significance. The research article was developed by Dr. Young (SFU 2011) and two child Psychiatrists, Dr.
Suneeta Monga and Dr. Mary Owens at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto who also provided sponsorship. There is evidence to show that anxiety in children can start at a young age (Cartwright-Hatton 2004). Previous research has been carried out primarily on children above the age of 8. Dr Young and her team had looked at the methods used for treatment from previous research such as the FRIENDS program (Shortt 2001), which concluded CBT too linguistically and cognitively demanding for children under 8. The team decided to look at alternative ways of using CBT but adapted to suit treating anxious children under.
The team’s innovative method of treatment was named ‘Taming “sneaky fears” child and parent treatment manual’. This adapted form of CBT would be applied through stories, games and activities. These methods where seen as more appealing to younger children under 8 as they aimed at engaging with them through play thus allowing them to feel comfortable which in turn would hopefully facilitate communication (Monga et al 2009). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is seen as effective in treating children and adolescents and this has been demonstrated in numerous research studies (Flannery-Schroeder 2000; Manassis 2002; Muris 2001).
The research so far has concluded that CBT is now seen as a favourable choice for practitioners treating anxiety related disorders in children (Compton 2004; Ishikawa 2007). Research Methods The research chosen for this review was a pilot study, which enabled the team to test the outcome of their treatment manual. A pilot study would give them the chance to reflect on their use of multiple methods for assessing the statistical significance of their theory and any changes could be made to the treatment manual before its publication (McLeod 2003).
This research paper in particular is referred to as ‘outcome research’, which means to test the validity and reliability of a particular theory, in this case a treatment manual (McLeod 2003). The Philosophical approach to researching a subject such as a psychotherapeutic intervention is usually researched using Qualitative methods as it will often take in to consideration the context of the origins of the data in a more subjective manner ie; Counselling and Psychotherapy deals with human contact, thoughts, feelings of differing circumstances.
The drawback to this is it’s hard to keep the research contained which could make it difficult, time consuming and personally overwhelming for the researcher. Ethics also have an extremely important role to play in qualitative research; Cultural, social and personal prejudice would need to be considered as it may affect the quality of the research. There is ethical importance for a researcher to set appropriate boundaries and to take the appropriate measures to have their research ethically reviewed whether it’s qualitative or quantitative (McLeod 2003 & Salford 2011).
A deductive approach would be used in the development of new methods and would be more satisfied by qualitative research, this may have been used in the development of the manual ie; Asking questions and exploring concepts in order to come up with a new hypothesis, in this case ‘how can CBT be used to treat children under 8? ‘ ‘Could it be used if we adapted it? ‘ ‘We have adapted it, does it now work? ‘
Now that they had a hypothesis to test; ‘Does the treatment manual work? ‘ A Quantitative research method would test if their theory could be nullified or rejected, this is called ‘determining the statistical significance of a null hypothesis’, in other words ‘yes it can and this can be proven by the results’ or ‘no it can’t as the test results show little significant change to the participants’ (Salford 2011).
It could be also said that by using a Quantitative method for outcome research, the researchers would attempt to satisfy modern society’s demands for scientific evidence, which is the influence of French sociologist Auguste Comte (1798-1857). Comte’s ‘positivism’ philosophy set a methodological ideal standard for all humanities ie; scientific knowledge develops from the deducing and testing of hypotheses (Melling 2011). The popularity of evidence based science has put pressure on helping practices whether it be medical, pharmaceutical or holistic, to ‘legitimise’ their theories (McLeod 2003).