Parental interest in parent-delivered online therapy for child anxiety in rural areas
Torres, Nizanne Eos
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Anxiety is the most common childhood onset psychological disorder worldwide. To date, treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) have been found to be effective in alleviating children’s anxiety symptoms (Vigerland, Serlachius, Thulin, Andersson, Larsson, & Ljotsson, 2017). Recently, studies have found that CBT that is facilitated and delivered by parents can also be an effective treatment for child anxiety. There is reason to believe that developing interventions that can be delivered via the internet is a way to improve accessibility for children and families, particularly for families living in rural areas. However, we do not know whether or not parents living in rural areas are interested in accessing this type of treatment. This study looked at rural parents’ likelihood to participate in parent-delivered ICBT. We conducted telephone interviews with four parents from rural Saskatchewan and obtained information regarding their attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived barriers in participating in this type of treatment. Using thematic analysis, we found that rural parents are indeed interested in participating in parent-delivered ICBT. Eight themes emerged from the study: minimization of child’s anxiety, stigma, convenience, access to information, parent involvement, lack of child’s compliance, program format, and uncertainty of anxiety. This study contributes to the extant, albeit limited, research on rural parents who have children with anxiety; it allows future researchers to determine essential factors in program recruitment, while giving a more detailed information on the target population for parentdelivered ICBT.