Cognitive-behavioral treatment versus an active control for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders: a randomized trial

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 May;48(5):533-544. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e31819c2401.


Objective: The current trial examined whether a specific cognitive-behavioral treatment package was more efficacious in treating childhood anxiety disorders than a nonspecific support package.

Method: One hundred twelve children (aged 7-16 years) with a principal anxiety disorder were randomly allocated to either a group cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) program or a control condition (group support and attention [GSA]).

Results: Overall, results showed that CBT was significantly more efficacious compared with the GSA condition: 68.6% of children in the CBT condition did not meet diagnostic criteria for their principal anxiety diagnosis at 6-month follow-up compared with 45.5% of the children in the GSA condition. The results of the child- and parent-completed measures indicated that, although mothers of CBT children reported significantly greater treatment gains than mothers of GSA children, children reported similar improvements across conditions.

Conclusions: Specific delivery of cognitive-behavioral skills is more efficacious in the treatment of childhood anxiety than a treatment that includes only nonspecific therapy factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Parental Consent
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome