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

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgment

This study was supported by grants awarded to RMK from the National Foundation for Autism Research and the Autism Society of America—San Diego County Chapter. We would like to thank the children and families who generously participated. Trial Registry Information: Clinicaltrials.gov database reference number: NCT01187784. Internet link: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01187784.

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Correspondence to Rebecca H. McNally Keehn.

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McNally Keehn, R.H., Lincoln, A.J., Brown, M.Z. et al. The Coping Cat Program for Children with Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. J Autism Dev Disord 43, 57–67 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1541-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1541-9

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