Original Research

Research Protocol: Development, implementation and evaluation of a cognitive behavioural therapy-based intervention programme for the management of anxiety symptoms in South African children with visual impairments

Lisa Visagie, Helene Loxton, Wendy K. Silverman
African Journal of Disability | Vol 4, No 1 | a160 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v4i1.160 | © 2015 Lisa Visagie, Helene Loxton, Wendy K. Silverman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 September 2014 | Published: 03 July 2015

About the author(s)

Lisa Visagie, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Helene Loxton, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Wendy K. Silverman, Yale Child Study Centre, Yale University School of Medicine, United States of America


Background: Childhood anxiety presents a serious mental health problem, and it is one of the most common forms of psychological distress reported by youth worldwide. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms amongst South African youth is reported to be significantly higher than in other parts of the world. These high prevalence rates become even more significant when viewed in terms of children with visual impairments, as it is suggested that children with physical disabilities may be more prone, than their non-disabled peers, for the development of psychological difficulties. 

Objectives: The main aim of this study is to develop, implement and evaluate a specifically tailored anxiety intervention programme for use with South African children with visual impairments.

Method: A specifically tailored cognitive-behavioural therapy-based anxiety intervention, for 9–13 year old South African children with visual impairments, will be evaluated in two special schools. The study will employ a randomised wait-list control group design with pre- postand follow-up intervention measures, with two groups each receiving a 10 session anxiety intervention programme. The main outcome measure relates to the participants’ symptoms of anxiety as indicated on the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Conclusion: If the anxiety intervention programme is found to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, this universal intervention will lay down the foundation upon which future contextually sensitive (South African) anxiety intervention programmes can be built.


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