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.
Silvia Schneider, PhD | alfa
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