Award Date

5-1-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

Andrew J. Freeman

Fourth Committee Member

Scott A. Loe

Fifth Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Number of Pages

255

Abstract

Children with selective mutism often present as a very diverse population, with both oppositional (APA, 2013; Cohan et al., 2008; Steinhausen & Juzi, 1996), and anxious symptoms (APA, 2013; Kristensen, 2000; Vecchio & Kearney, 2009) most commonly reported. The first aim of the current study was to validate the presence of previously identified anxious and oppositional behavior factors in a community sample of youth with selective mutism. These factors were previously identified in a clinic sample of youth with selective mutism (Diliberto & Kearney, 2016). The second aim was to examine the association of anxious and oppositional behavior factors with specific behaviors on the CBCL consistent with activity level, social competence and social problems (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). The third aim of the study was to examine temperament domains according to activity, sociability, shyness and emotionality in children with selective mutism. Participants included 278 mothers of youth with selective mutism aged 6-10 years recruited from the Selective Mutism Group and social media groups for selective mutism.

Hypothesis 1a was that previously identified anxious and oppositional behavior factors would be replicated in a community sample of children with selective mutism (Diliberto & Kearney, 2016). Hypothesis 1a was not supported, therefore, Hypothesis 1b was that anxious and oppositional factors from CBCL items would be identified via exploratory and confirmatory iv factor analyses in the community sample. Findings from Hypothesis 1b then served as the basis for the remaining hypotheses (i.e., Hypotheses 2a+). Hypotheses 2a-11a examined the association of anxious and oppositional behavior factors with CBCL activity, social competence and social problems subscale scores and specific items and EAS activity, sociability, shyness and emotionality subscale scores and items.

Hypotheses 2a-11a were only partially supported. The anxious factor was positively associated with shyness, negative emotionality and social problems, but a significant negative association was not found with activity, activity competence, social competence and sociability. The oppositional factor was associated with activity, social problems and negative emotionality, but a significant positive association was not found with activity competence, social competence, and sociability. Latent class analysis was used to determine if classes of selective mutism based on anxious, oppositional and inattention factors could be identified. A three-class model was derived: 1) highly anxious and oppositional, and moderately to highly inattentive, 2) moderately anxious and oppositional, and moderately to highly inattentive, and 3) mildly anxious, oppositional and inattentive. Further analyses were done to determine if classes were consistent with certain social competence items, and social problems, in addition specific facets of temperament. Findings provided support for classes of selective mutism based on anxious, oppositional and inattentive symptoms, and their association with specific behaviors and temperaments. Clinical implications, future directions and limitations were discussed.

Keywords

Anxiety; Behavior profiles; Conceptualization; Inattention; Opposition; Selective mutism

Disciplines

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Psychology

Language

English


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