A School Nurse-Delivered Intervention for Anxious Children: An Open Trial

Michela A. Muggeo, Catherine E. Stewart, Kelly L. Drake, Golda S. Ginsburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anxiety disorders are common in children and severely impair their functioning. Because a hallmark symptom of anxiety is somatic complaints, anxious youth often seek help from their school nurse. Thus, school nurses are in an ideal position to identify anxious children and intervene early. This study assessed the feasibility of a brief nurse-administered intervention (CALM—Child Anxiety Learning Modules) based on cognitive behavioral strategies to reduce anxiety symptoms and improve academic functioning. Nine elementary school nurses completed a one-day training and administered the CALM intervention to 11 children with elevated symptoms of anxiety (M age: 8.09; range 5–11; 54% male; 91% White). Feasibility of the intervention was assessed using several indicators (e.g., training satisfaction, intervention satisfaction/helpfulness). Pre-post intervention child outcomes were collected from evaluators, parents, children, and teachers. Results indicated that the majority of nurses were highly satisfied with the training and reported the intervention was feasible. Paired t tests on pre-post outcome measures revealed significant reductions in anxiety, somatic symptoms, and concentration problems. Nurses (70%), parents (81%), and children (50%) reported that the intervention was either somewhat or very helpful. Preliminary results identified barriers to implementation but also suggest that the intervention is feasible and helpful. A sufficiently powered randomized controlled trial is needed to assess the intervention’s efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-171
Number of pages15
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Brief anxiety interventions
  • Child anxiety
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • School nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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