Selective mutism; social anxiety; treatment; mobile applications; ipad
Selective mutism (SM) is a diagnosis marked by withdrawal of speech in certain social situations. The treatment of SM is often a difficult and lengthy process and there are many barriers to successful intervention. Behavioral therapy is most effective in the treatment of SM and the addition of therapeutic activities such as games and mobile devices may provide distinct advantages to this treatment (i.e., decreased patient anxiety levels and more active engagement). The current investigation examined the utility of mobile applications during the behavioral treatment of SM as well as the effect of using mobile applications on child-reported and physiological indicators of anxious responding. Results indicated that children made remarkable treatment gains in just two treatment sessions (i.e., spoke to the clinician within 22 minutes of treatment and held five, five-minute conversations with additional adults during a second session) regardless of modality of delivery (using mobile applications, other activities, or reinforcement alone). Children shaped to speak with the inclusion of mobile applications reported less anxiety and exhibited decreased physiological anxious distress during treatment. The utility of mobile applications during the treatment of SM is discussed in addition to areas for future research (e.g., mobile-based treatment dissemination initiatives).
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Bunnell, Brian, "Using Technology in the Treatment of Selective Mutism: The Incorporation of Mobile Applications" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 1204.