Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 57–67

The Coping Cat Program for Children with Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Rebecca H. McNally Keehn
  • Alan J. Lincoln
  • Milton Z. Brown
  • Denise A. Chavira
Original paper


The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate whether a modified version of the Coping Cat program could be effective in reducing anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty-two children (ages 8–14; IQ ≥ 70) with ASD and clinically significant anxiety were randomly assigned to 16 sessions of the Coping Cat program (cognitive-behavioral therapy; CBT) or a 16-week waitlist. Children in the CBT condition evidenced significantly larger reductions in anxiety than those in the waitlist. Treatment gains were largely maintained at two-month follow-up. Results provide preliminary evidence that a modified version of the Coping Cat program may be a feasible and effective program for reducing clinically significant levels of anxiety in children with high-functioning ASD.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy Autism spectrum disorder Anxiety disorders Randomized controlled trial 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca H. McNally Keehn
    • 1
  • Alan J. Lincoln
    • 1
    • 2
  • Milton Z. Brown
    • 1
  • Denise A. Chavira
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Center for Autism Research, Evaluation and ServiceSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.Child and Adolescent Services Research CenterRady Children’s HospitalSan DiegoUSA

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