Degree Name

Doctor of Psycology(Clinical)


Department of Psychology


Despite improvements in treatment for anxiety disorders, many people remainsignificantly distressed or relapse following treatment. Exploration of specified issuesof potential importance in people with anxiety disorders may improve treatmentefficacy in those at risk of poorer treatment outcomes. Juvenile and adult separationanxieties have recently been proposed as important factors influencingpsychopathology. The aim of the current research was to investigate the effect ofjuvenile separation anxiety and adult separation anxiety on treatment outcome in ananxious sample following an eight-week cognitive behavioural program.

Method: Clients (aged 18-78 years at intake, mean of 39.22 years) who had been referred to a specialised anxiety clinic were assessed at intake. Participants diagnosed with a primary anxiety disorder were administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Separation Anxiety SymptomsInventory (SASI), and Adult Separation Anxiety Scale (ASA-CL). Those participantswho were significantly anxious as assessed at intake on the BAI were included in this study. One hundred and fifty four participants were allocated into one of two eight week cognitive behavioural group treatment programs as prescribed by their diagnosis.The BDI and BAI were administered again at the conclusion of treatment.

Results: Pre-treatment Results: Both juvenile separation anxiety and adultseparation anxiety were significantly related to each other and to pre-treatment levels ofdepression but only adult separation anxiety was significantly related to pre-treatmentlevels of anxiety. Post-treatment Results: Pre-treatment juvenile separation anxiety andadult separation anxiety were able to significantly discriminate between those with andwithout significant levels of depression whilst only adult separation anxiety was able tosignificantly discriminate between those with and without significant levels ofdepression and anxiety.

Conclusion: Adult separation anxiety was significantly associated with posttreatmentseverity of depression and anxiety whilst reported juvenile separation anxietyseemed to be associated with only post-treatment severity of depression. The findingsof this study suggest that further investigation is required into the role of the separationanxieties in psychopathology and their influence on treatment outcome.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.