Adaptive Riding Incorporating Cognitive Behavioral Elements for Youth with Anxiety: Fidelity Outcomes

Lauren Seibel1, Dana E.M. Seag1, Fei Guo2, Meghan Morrissey1, Robin Peth-Pierce3, Mary Acri1, Emily K. Hamovitch1, 4, Sarah Horwitz1, and Kimberly E. Hoagwood1

1 New York University, NYU Langone Health, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, One Park
Ave, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016
2 New York University, NYU Langone Health, Department of Population
Health, Division of Biostatistics Research, 180 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
3 Public Health Communications Consulting, LLC, 16678 State Rd., North
Royalton, Ohio 44133
4 Child Development Institute, 197 Euclid Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2J8, Canada

Equine-assisted services include novel approaches for treating children’s mental health disorders, one of which is anxiety (Latella & Abrams, 2019). Reining in Anxiety is a manualized approach to adaptive riding drawing on evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy elements for youth with anxiety. This intervention was delivered by PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors (CTRIs) in a randomized pilot study. Fidelity checklists, developed to match the core components of the manualized intervention, were collected by independent observers. Fidelity scores addressed an average of 98.7% of components, well beyond the threshold for high fidelity (e.g. >80%) established in the literature (Garbancz et al., 2014). These findings show that the PATH CTRIs trained in the Reining in Anxiety intervention for this study, with supervision and implementation supports, delivered this intervention with high fidelity. This has important implications for expanding access to evidence-based community mental health services beyond traditional clinic settings and providers, and for addressing the gap between the need for and use of evidence-based youth mental health services.


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Keywords: adaptive riding, Animal-Assisted Therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, equine-assisted services, evidence-based, fidelity, therapeutic riding, youth anxiety
Posted in Volume 9, No. 3