Efficacy of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety and Depression

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


A review of meta-analyses of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for childhood anxiety and depression was conducted. A total of 36 meta-analyses were identified that met inclusion criteria for this review. In most cases, medium-to-large effect sizes for treatment reduction were observed when CBT was compared to non-active control conditions. Small-to-medium effects were observed when CBT was compared to active control treatments. The available meta-analyses generally did not examine, or data were not sufficient to evaluate, potential moderators of outcome, differential effects for parental involvement, or changes in quality of life or functional outcomes associated with treatment. Accordingly, while CBT should be broadly considered an effective treatment approach for childhood anxiety and depression, additional research is warranted in order to establish guidelines for service delivery for complicating factors in client presentation.

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