Parent cognitive-behavioral intervention for the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders: A pilot study

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Strong evidence supports cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of childhood anxiety. Many studies suggest that parents play an etiological role in the development and maintenance of child anxiety. This pilot study examined the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral intervention delivered to the parents of 31 anxious children (ages 7-13). Parents were randomly assigned to an individual parent-only CBT intervention (PCBT, n=18) or wait-list control (WL, n=13). PCBT demonstrated significant reductions in children's number of anxiety disorder diagnoses, parent-rated interference and clinician-rated severity of anxiety, and maternal protective behaviors at post-treatment, which were maintained at 3-months. WL did not demonstrate significant changes. There were no significant differences between conditions in child self-reported or parent-report of child anxiety symptoms. Findings were replicated in a combined sample of treated participants, as well as in an intent-to-treat sample. Parent-only CBT may be an effective treatment modality for child anxiety, though future research is warranted.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Behaviour Research and Therapy