Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

KiBA Testing the App

Children with a specific phobia are excessively afraid of certain objects, animals or situations. Specific phobias are common in children, but they can make the child’s life at home, school and outside quite difficult. Together with a large international team, we developed the KibA-program to help children with specific phobias as best as possible.

Anke Klein

The program focuses on children between the ages of 7 and 14 with a specific phobia. In this study, 174 children will receive a one session treatment of 3 hours, in which the therapist helps them approach the feared object or situation step by step. This is what we call exposure. We already know that this treatment works for most children with a specific phobia. However, we also know that after treatment it is important that children continue to practice exposure techniques at home to avoid relapsing into their fear, but it is often difficult for children to keep practicing at home. The Knowledge Center Anxiety and Stress works together with the LUBEC in Leiden, where the program will run.

The KibA-program investigates whether we can facilitate exercising at home after treatment by adding a personalized training program with a mobile app. After the one session treatment, half of the children are instructed to practice for four weeks using the personalized training program via the KibA app. The other half of the children are encouraged to continue practicing at home as normally recommended, but they do not receive an app to assist them (control group). The main goal of this study is to investigate whether the app's training schedule improves the short- and long-term outcomes of the treatment. In addition, possible underlying mechanisms and predictors of treatment outcomes are examined. The app could potentially be an effective tool to continue motivating children after treatment to practice exposure in order to succesfully overcome their specific phobia.

For more information about the KibA program and registration, visit: https://kasjeugd.nl/projects/kiba 

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