Assessment of brief interventions for nighttime fears in preschool children
BACKGROUND Although excessive fears are common in preschool children, validated assessment tools for this age are lacking. Our aim was to modify and provide preliminary evidence of the utility of a preschoolers' fear screening tool, a parent-reported Fear Survey Schedule for Preschool Children (FSS-PC). METHODS 109 Israeli preschool children (aged 4-6 years) with chronic night time fears (NF) and 30 healthy children (controls) participated. The FSS-PC analysis included: 1) internal reliability, 2) correlations between FSS-PC scores and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) measures, 3) differences between NF and a comparison sample of FSS-PC scores, and 4) FSS-PC sensitivity in detecting change in NF following an intervention for NF. RESULTS There were low-to-medium positive correlations between the FSS-PC scores and several internalizing scales of the CBCL measures. FSS-PC scores in the NF group were significantly higher than the control children's score. FSS-PC scores had adequate internal reliability and were also sensitive for detecting significant changes in fear levels following behavioral interventions. LIMITATIONS Unique cultural and environmental circumstances and specific study group. CONCLUSIONS This new version of the FSS-PC may provide clinicians with a novel and useful screening tool for early assessment of fear- and anxiety-related phenomena of preschool children.