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Children's CBT skills, metacognition, empathy, and theory of mind

Jones, J., Souchay, C., Moulin, C., Reynolds, S. and Adlam, A.-L. (2019) Children's CBT skills, metacognition, empathy, and theory of mind. Journal of Children's Services. ISSN 1746-6660

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/JCS-12-2017-0052

Abstract/Summary

Purpose Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for common mental health problems that affect children, young people and adults. The suitability of CBT for children has been questioned because it requires children to think about their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The purpose of this paper is to investigate which cognitive and affective capacities predict children’s ability to relate thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Design/methodology/approach A total of 59 typically developing children aged between 8 and 11 years took part in the study. CBT skills were assessed on a story task that required children to relate the character’s thoughts to their feelings and behaviours. Children also completed an assessment of IQ, a feeling-of-knowing metamemory task that assessed metacognition, and a higher-order theory of mind task. Furthermore, parents rated their child’s empathy on the children’s empathy quotient. Findings The findings suggest that CBT is developmentally appropriate for 8–11 year old children; however, young children and children with mental health problems may have impaired metacognition and CBT skills. Metacognition and empathy may moderate the efficacy of child CBT and warrant further investigation in clinical trials. Originality/value This study provides evidence for the cognitive and affective skills that might predict the outcome of CBT in children. Metacognition and empathy predict children’s ability to relate thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and therefore may moderate the efficacy of CBT.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Anxiety and Depression in Young People (AnDY)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:80329
Publisher:Emerald

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