Child STEPs in California: A cluster randomized effectiveness trial comparing modular treatment with community implemented treatment for youth with anxiety, depression, conduct problems, or traumatic stress

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Jan;85(1):13-25. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000133. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


Objective: This study reports outcomes from a randomized effectiveness trial testing modular treatment versus multiple community-implemented evidence-based treatments for youth.

Method: An ethnoracially diverse sample of 138 youth ages 5 to 15 (62 girls, 76 boys) whose primary clinical concerns involved diagnoses or clinical elevations related to anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, and/or traumatic stress were treated by community therapists randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: (a) modular treatment, which involved a single modular protocol (i.e., modular approach to therapy for children; MATCH) that allowed flexible selection and sequencing of procedures to fit the chosen treatment focus in the context of measurement feedback, and (b) community-implemented treatment (CIT), which was a county-supported implementation of multiple evidence-based practices for youth.

Results: Youth treated with MATCH showed significantly faster rates of improvement over time on clinical and functional outcomes relative to youth in the CIT condition and required significantly fewer sessions delivered over significantly fewer days. Caregiver-reported clinical improvement rates were significantly greater for MATCH (60%) versus CIT (36.7%). Further, youth in the CIT condition were significantly more likely to receive additional psychosocial treatment services and were significantly more likely to use a variety of psychotropic medications during the active treatment phase.

Conclusions: These results extend prior findings, supporting the effectiveness and efficiency of a modular, multifocus approach that incorporates monitoring and feedback relative to community implementation of evidence-based treatments. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • California
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Mental Health Services*
  • Conduct Disorder / therapy*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / therapy*