Three occupational therapy graduate students at the University of Puget Sound partnered with a practicing pediatric occupational therapist to investigate effective interventions for anxiety in children in the literature. A Critically-Appraised-Topic (CAT) was performed on the research question: Which interventions geared towards school-aged children between 5 and 18 with anxiety and related disorders are effective in reducing symptoms and increasing participation in school and meaningful occupations as compared to no intervention?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was found to have the strongest research base and the strongest positive outcomes. Gains were maintained following CBT even 10-26 weeks post-treatment. Other promising interventions with positive outcomes included social skills training, yoga, deep pressure, and play-based and occupation-based groups, although much more research is needed in these areas.

Decision support tools were created by the graduate students to aid the partnering clinician and her clinic translate knowledge from the research into practice. The students created tables listing interventions and assessments for anxiety in children found in the literature, and listed additional details such as cost, time to administer, and targeted diagnoses and ages to help the clinicians decide which interventions and outcome measures from the research to incorporate into practice.

The clinicians ultimately decided to purchase several books, such as the social stories program “Dominique’s Handy Tricks”, to use in treatment of anxiety of children at their clinic. Clinicians reported the knowledge translation tools strengthened their evidence-based practice by allowing them to easily choose interventions and tools that had positive outcomes in the literature and that best fit the clinic’s needs.

Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


University of Puget Sound

Faculty Advisor

Yvonne Swinth, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Project Chairperson

Publication Date



Capstone Project





Degree Program

Occupational Therapy

Degree Level

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound