Computer-Assisted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Child Anxiety: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial
This study examined the feasibility, acceptability, and effects of Camp Cope-A-Lot (CCAL), a computer-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety in youth. Children (49; 33 males) ages 7-13 (M = 10.1 ± 1.6; 83.7% Caucasian, 14.2% African American, 2% Hispanic) with a principal anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to (a) CCAL, (b) individual CBT (ICBT), or (c) a computer-assisted education, support, and attention (CESA) condition. All therapists were from the community (school or counseling psychologists, clinical psychologist) or were PsyD or PhD trainees with no experience or training in CBT for child anxiety. Independent diagnostic interviews and self-report measures were completed at pre- and posttreatment and 3-month follow-up. At posttreatment, ICBT or CCAL children showed significantly better gains than CESA children; 70%, 81%, and 19%, respectively, no longer met criteria for their principal anxiety diagnosis. Gains were maintained at follow-up, with no significant differences between ICBT and CCAL. Parents and children rated all treatments acceptable, with CCAL and ICBT children rating higher satisfaction than CESA children. Findings support the feasibility, acceptability and beneficial effects of CCAL for anxious youth. Discussion considers the potential of computer-assisted treatments in the dissemination of empirically supported treatments.