Psychotherapy of Childhood Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis

Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (Impact Factor: 9.2). 02/2007; 76(1):15-24. DOI: 10.1159/000096361
Source: PubMed


The present study compared the efficacy of psychotherapy for childhood anxiety disorders (excluding trials solely treating post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder).
The meta-analysis included studies that met the basic CONSORT (consolidated standards of reporting trials) criteria. Several outcome variables (e.g. effect sizes, percentage of recovery) were analyzed using completer and intent-to-treat analyses during post-treatment and follow-up assessment. Twenty-four studies published by March 2005 were included in this meta-analysis.
In all the included studies, the active treatment condition was cognitive-behavioral. The overall mean effect of treatment was 0.86. No differences in outcome were found between individual and group treatments or child- and family-focused treatments. Follow-up data demonstrated that treatment gains were maintained up to several years after treatment.
These findings provide evidence that anxiety disorders in children can be treated efficaciously. The gathered data support the clinical utility of cognitive-behavioral therapy in this regard. Randomized controlled trial studies investigating treatments other than cognitive-behavioral therapy are missing.

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    • "Auch sprechen trotz ihrer prinzipiellen Wirksamkeit nicht alle Angstpatienten gleichermaßen auf KVT an. So werden selbst nach erfolgreicher Therapie bei Kindern und Jugendlichen Rückfallraten von bis zu 44% berichtet [In-Albon und Schneider, 2006]. Daher versuchen aktuelle Forschungsansätze die Wirkfaktoren von KVT zu identifizieren – also quasi die aktiven «Zutaten» der Therapie –, um diese dann gezielt zur Steigerung des Behandlungserfolgs einzusetzen . "

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    • "Note also that Sofronoff et al. (2005) found that for the treatment of anxiety in children with Asperger, active parental involvement enhanced the effects of this intervention. Contradictory, in typically developing children with anxiety disorders an additional effect of a family component is not always found (e.g., In-Albon and Schneider 2007; Bodden et al. 2008); however, those studies did not explore the possible role of ASD traits. "
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