Communicating with Anxious Youth Project
Thank you for your interest in the Communicating With Anxious Youth Project directed by Dr. Lisa Millhous at West Chester University of PA.
The purpose of this project is to pool together the experience of parents, teachers, and other professionals who frequently work with anxious youth and create a body of “best practices” for communicating with youth during an anxiety episode, or to prevent one. College-age adults, who were themselves anxious during their youth, will be asked for their perspective on how adult communication affected them.
Interview Procedures. Interviews take 30-45 minutes and may be in person or by phone/skype at a location convenient to the participant. Interviews will be audio-recorded for accuracy (with participant permission); otherwise detailed notes will be made. As part of the interview, no names will be recorded for confidentiality, and participants will be coded numerically to protect individuals’ privacy. Once the data has been analyzed the recordings will be erased. No names, affiliations, or other identifying information will be used in any reports or publications that result from this project.
Participants who have worked with anxious youth will be asked questions like the following:
- Briefly describe your experience with anxious youth. What is the context where you have experience? For how long? How many youth? Etc.
- Think of a time when you were successful in communicating with one or more youth. Tell me about that experience. What did you say? What was the result?
- Think of a time when you struggled to communicate with one or more youth. Tell me about that experience. What did you say? What was the result?
- Do you have any personal strategies that seem to work for you, when you are trying to work with anxious youth?
Participants who were themselves anxious youth will be asked questions like the following:
- Briefly describe your experience with anxiety, using as much or as little detail as you are comfortable. When did it start? What is the context where you have difficulty? What kind of adults worked with you at that time (teachers, pastor, counselor, parent)? Etc.
- Think of a time when you were anxious and an adult said something or handled it successfully from your perspective. Tell me about that experience. What did they say? How did you react? What made it successful?
- Think of a person who communicates well with you, in general. Are there things this person does or says that are helpful to you? What kinds of communication strategies are you aware of?
- Has an adult ever tried to minimize your fear? Maybe saying something like, “Everybody feels that way. You don’t need to worry about that.” How did you react to that when you were anxious?
Dr. Lisa Millhous has been studying emotion in organizations like schools and businesses since 1997, exploring motivation, tolerance for ambiguity, hope, and most recently anxiety. She has been working with college students to overcome public speaking anxiety for more than a decade and regularly designs classroom experiences to make challenging communication skills more accessible. Dr. Millhous also has personal experience working with anxious youth and hopes to use the overall findings of this study to teach others how to be more helpful when people experience anxiety.
Thank you for your interest in the Communicating With Anxious Youth Project directed by Dr. Lisa Millhous at West Chester University of PA. If you would like to volunteer for an interview, please contact me by email. I look forward to hearing your story.
Sincerely, Lisa Millhous