ERPs in Children and Adolescents with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Before and after an Intervention Program

Brain Sci. 2022 Sep 1;12(9):1174. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12091174.


According to DSM 5, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry about various topics that occupies the majority of the subject's time for a period of at least six months. The aforementioned state causes distress and/or functional impairments. This paper presents the outcomes of a pilot study that evaluated the implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and CBT with an SSRIs intervention program. The participants comprised 16 children and adolescents with GAD (8 males and 8 females) matched with 16 typically developing peers (8 males and 8 females) aged from 10 to 16 years old (M = 12.56 SD = 2.18). Baseline assessment consisted of event related potentials (ERPs), which indicated that participants with GAD presented cognitive deficits in attention and memory, as they exhibited longer P300 latencies. Following treatment with the CBT program and/or medication, children and adolescents with GAD did not present statistically significantly longer P300 latencies and reaction times in comparison to the control group. Lastly, children and adolescents who followed the CBT program or the CBT program with psychopharmacological assistance did not reveal statistically significant differences in 13 out of 15 topographic brain areas and in reaction time.

Keywords: CBT program; children and adolescents with anxiety; event related potentials.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.