Predictors and moderators of treatment response in childhood anxiety disorders: results from the CAMS trial

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014 Apr;82(2):212-24. doi: 10.1037/a0035458. Epub 2014 Jan 13.


Objective: We sought to examine predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes among 488 youths ages 7-17 years (50% female; 74% ≤ 12 years) meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) criteria for diagnoses of separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder who were randomly assigned to receive either cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), sertraline (SRT), their combination (COMB), or medication management with pill placebo (PBO) in the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS).

Method: Six classes of predictor and moderator variables (22 variables) were identified from the literature and examined using continuous (Pediatric Anxiety Ratings Scale; PARS) and categorical (Clinical Global Impression Scale-Improvement; CGI-I) outcome measures.

Results: Three baseline variables predicted better outcomes (independent of treatment condition) on the PARS, including low anxiety severity (as measured by parents and independent evaluators) and caregiver strain. No baseline variables were found to predict Week 12 responder status (CGI-I). Participants' principal diagnosis moderated treatment outcomes but only on the PARS. No baseline variables were found to moderate treatment outcomes on Week 12 responder status (CGI-I).

Discussion: Overall, anxious children responded favorably to CAMS treatments. However, having more severe and impairing anxiety, greater caregiver strain, and a principal diagnosis of social phobia were associated with less favorable outcomes. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline