Group family-based cognitive behavioral therapy for pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder: Global outcomes and predictors of improvement

Psychiatry Res. 2018 Feb;260:116-122. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.11.041. Epub 2017 Nov 15.


This open, uncontrolled study examined the efficacy of a group family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (GF-CBT) protocol in treating pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and explored predictors of symptom improvement. Eighty-five OCD-affected youth aged 8-18 years (M = 13.9 years, SD = 2.49; 46% male) and their parent(s) participated in a weekly, 12-session GF-CBT program. Data from multiple perspectives were gathered at the beginning and end of treatment, as well as at one-month follow-up. A broad range of assessment measures were utilized to capture clinically-relevant domains and a number of potential predictor variables were explored. Paired t-tests indicated that treatment was associated with significant reductions in clinician- and parent-rated OCD severity (d = 1.47, 1.32), youth and parent-rated functional impairment (d = 0.87, 0.67), coercive/disruptive behaviors (d = 0.75), and family accommodation (d = 1.02), as well as improvements in youth-, mother-, and father-rated family functioning (d = 1.05, 0.50, 0.88). Paired t-tests also indicated that youth remained improved at one-month follow-up. Step-wise regression identified greater homework success as a significant predictor of symptom improvement. This study provides evidence that GF-CBT significantly improves a wide range of domains for youth/families that extends beyond OCD symptom severity and supports homework as a core treatment component.

Keywords: Coercive/disruptive behaviors; Family accommodation; Family functioning; Homework; Open trial; Parent involvement; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Pragmatic Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / trends*
  • Family Therapy / methods
  • Family Therapy / trends*
  • Fathers / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Problem Behavior / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome