Award Date

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Christopher A. Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

Rachael Robnett

Fourth Committee Member

Heather Van Ness

Number of Pages



Selective mutism (SM) refers to a consistent failure to speak in social situations that have an expectation for speaking, despite fluent speech in other situations (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Recent researchers describe SM as a heterogeneous disorder not always characterized by anxiety (Driessen et al., 2020). Specifically, some have argued that SM may be better explained as a neurodevelopmental rather than an anxiety disorder (Kearney & Rede, 2021). The aim of the present study was to find unique classes for anxiety, oppositional, and communication difficulties among youth with SM. Participants included 129 caregivers of youth with SM aged 6–14 years recruited from the Selective Mutism Group and social media groups for SM. Behavior profiles were measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach &Rescorla, 2001), Children’s Communication Checklist 2 (Bishop, 2006), and the Selective Mutism Questionnaire (Bergman et al., 2008). Four distinct behavior factor profiles were identified: anxiety, oppositional/emotionality, inattention, and attention-seeking. Subsequent latent class analyses revealed three distinct classes based on symptom severity (mild, moderate, and severe impairment). These results can help clinicians and caregivers with accurate assessment and effective treatment.


Anxiety; Behavior Profiles; Selective Mutism; Youth


Clinical Psychology | Psychology

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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