Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Mark D Terjesen

Second Advisor

Raymond DiGiuseppe

Third Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for youth experiencing anxiety. While various group-based CBT programs have demonstrated effectiveness for anxious youth, few have integrated SMART technology into service delivery to increase engagement and active learning. The On Second Though (OST) program is a social-emotional learning curriculum grounded in CBT principles. The program aims to teach youth about the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an innovative and captivating manner via SMART technology. This program has demonstrated preliminary effectiveness in treating anxiety in a clinical setting and anger in a school setting in prior research. This investigation assessed the effectiveness of the OST program implemented in a school-based setting for anxious youth. Eight participants participated in the entirety of the group intervention. The program was delivered by the principal investigator and a school psychologist in a classroom afterschool in a large Metropolitan area. It was hypothesized that participants would demonstrate significant reductions in anxiety symptoms, negative self-statements, and irrational beliefs, and would maintain these gains at 6-week follow-up. The pattern of results obtained in the present study are consistent with previous literature. The OST program appears to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms within the school-based settings for anxious youth. On self-report anxiety measures, 60% of participants with elevated pre-treatment ratings demonstrated a reliable decrease in anxiety scores. Beyond statistical significance, clinically meaningful change was observed for 80% of participants. On parent-reported measures, more than 80% of parents reported positive reliable change in anxiety symptoms. Further, more than 80% of parent reports suggested clinically meaningful change. Collectively, these results provide support for the OST program within a school-based setting.