Predictors of long-term outcome of CBT for youth with anxiety disorders treated in community clinics

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven long-term effects in youth with anxiety disorders. However, only a few studies have examined predictors of long-term outcomes of CBT treatment. The present study investigated possible predictors of long-term treatment outcomes in youth with mixed anxiety disorders treated in community mental health clinics. A total of 139 youth (mean age at assessment 15.5 years, range 11–21 years) with a principal diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and/or generalized anxiety disorder were evaluated a mean of 3.9 years post-treatment (range 2.2–5.9 years). Outcomes were loss of all inclusion anxiety diagnoses, loss of the principal inclusion anxiety diagnosis, and changes in youth- and parent-rated youth anxiety symptoms. Predictors encompassed youth, parent and demographic factors, and post-treatment recovery. The most consistent finding was that low family social class predicted poorer outcomes. Higher treatment motivation was associated with better outcome whereas a diagnosis of social anxiety was associated with poorer outcome. Identified predictors extend on previous findings from efficacy trials, and the results indicate a need for more specific treatment protocols.




Kodal, A., Fjermestad, K. W., Bjelland, I., Gjestad, R., Öst, L. G., Bjaastad, J. F., … Wergeland, G. J. H. (2018). Predictors of long-term outcome of CBT for youth with anxiety disorders treated in community clinics. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 59, 53–63.

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