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Group CBT reduces child anxiety diagnoses compared with nonspecific group support

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Is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) more effective than group support and attention for reducing both mother and child reported anxiety?


112 children aged between 7 and 16 years with DSM-IV anxiety disorder (mean age 10.2 years, 57% male) and their parents. Exclusion criteria were mental retardation, psychosis, receiving concurrent psychological treatment or with major depression. Children taking medication for anxiety or depression were included if the dose was stable.


Australia; recruitment period not reported.


Group CBT or group support and attention (GSA). CBT used the Cool Kids programme which involves affect recognition, cognitive restructuring, child management, social skills training, assertiveness and gradual exposure. It was delivered in ten 2 h sessions once a week. Therapist time was divided equally between the children and parents together and separately. Exposure tasks were planned with the child's family and completed by the children as homework. GSA contained no aspects of CBT and aimed to provide a supportive environment to express emotions and build relationships.


Principal anxiety or any anxiety diagnosis (diagnosis considered present if Clinical Severity Rating (CSR) >4 based on structured interview with …

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  • Sources of funding Macquarie University internal grant.


  • Competing interests None

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