Emotional Awareness Predicts Specific Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Outcomes for Anxious Youth

  • Jordan P. DavisEmail author
  • Philip C. Kendall
  • Cynthia M. Suveg
Original Article


The current study examined emotional awareness as a predictor of differential outcomes for youth treated for an anxiety disorder. 37 youth ages 7–15 received either individual cognitive-behavioral therapy or family cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and/or social phobia. Diagnoses were determined by independent evaluators, following semi-structured interviews (ADIS-IV-C/P) with youth and their parents. Self-report questionnaires, including the multidimensional anxiety scale for children and the emotion expressivity scale for children, were completed at pre- and posttreatment. Youth with higher levels of pretreatment emotional awareness had better treatment outcomes than youth with lower levels of emotional awareness, with specific regard to improved ability to cope with worry. Findings suggest that higher levels of emotional awareness facilitate better specific outcomes for anxious youth. Findings highlight the importance of understanding the emotions associated with worry during the treatment process.


Emotional awareness Treatment outcome Generalized anxiety disorder Social anxiety disorder Separation anxiety disorder 



The preparation of this report was facilitated by an NICHD award (Grant No. HD080097) to Philip C. Kendall.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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