Award Date

12-1-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle Paul

Third Committee Member

Brad Donohue

Fourth Committee Member

John Filler

Number of Pages

152

Abstract

Children with selective mutism often present as a very heterogeneous population, with both anxious (APA, 2000; 2013; Kristensen 2000; Manassis et al., 2007; Steinhausen & Juzi, 1996; Yeganeh et al., 2003) and oppositional symptoms (APA, 2013; Andersson & Thomsen, 1998; Kolvin & Fundudis, 1981; Krohn, Weckstein, & Wright, 1992). This study sought to identify anxiety and oppositional behavior profiles in a clinical sample of children with selective mutism. Also, this study sought to determine both discriminant and concurrent validity for these profiles and examine their association with family expressiveness, conflict and control. Participants (n=57) included youth receiving treatment at the UNLV Child School Refusal and Anxiety Disorders Clinic for selective mutism. Hypothesis 1 was that anxious and oppositional behavior profiles would be identified in a clinical sample of children with selective mutism. Results from Hypothesis 1 served as the basis for the remaining hypotheses. Hypothesis 1 was supported. Hypothesis 2 was that children with selective mutism with an anxious profile would display social problems and symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, these children were expected to show little connection to aggressive behaviors and symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Concurrent validity for Factor 1 was supported. However, discriminant validity was only partially supported. Hypothesis 3 was that children with selective mutism with an oppositional profile would display aggressive behavior and symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. In addition, these children were expected to show little connection to social problems and symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Hypothesis 3 was only partially supported, demonstrating concurrent but not discriminant validity. Hypothesis 4 examined the association between anxious and oppositional profiles and conflict, expressiveness and control subscales on the Family Environment Scale. Hypothesis 4 was only partially supported, with an association between an oppositional profile and conflict. Clinical implications, future directions and limitations were discussed.

Keywords

Anxiety; Anxiety in children; Behavior disorders in children; Behavior profile; Opposition; Oppositional defiant disorder in children; Selective mutism

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Psychology

Language

English


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