Efficacy of a Danish version of the Cool Kids program: a randomized wait-list controlled trial

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2016 Feb;133(2):109-121. doi: 10.1111/acps.12448. Epub 2015 May 27.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of a Danish version of the Cool Kids program, a generic manualized group cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) program for anxiety disorders among children and adolescents.

Method: Children and adolescents (age 7-16) with a primary anxiety disorder diagnosis (n = 109) were randomly allocated to group CBT or a wait-list (WL) control condition at a Danish university clinic.

Results: Results showed that the Danish version of the Cool Kids program was efficacious with 48.2% free of all anxiety diagnoses at post-treatment, compared with 5.7% in the WL condition, and large effect sizes on self-report measures of child anxiety symptoms rated by child, mother, and father (ηp2 range = 0.18-0.24). Children and adolescents improved further from post-treatment to 3-month follow-up, and this improvement was maintained at 12-month follow-up. Participants with a primary diagnosis of social phobia (SoP) showed less improvement compared with other anxiety diagnoses.

Conclusion: The study contributes to the evidence base for the Cool Kids program, previously only evaluated by its developers in Australia. Generic group CBT programs may not be the most appropriate treatment for children and adolescents with primary SoP.

Keywords: adolescents; anxiety; children; cognitive-behavioural therapy; randomized controlled trial.