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Modular psychotherapy improves problems in youth with anxiety, depression or conduct disorder more rapidly than standard psychotherapy

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Question: Is modular psychotherapy more effective than standard psychotherapy or usual care for depression, anxiety and conduct problems in youths?

Patients: 203 youths aged between 7 and 13 years who had primary Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV anxiety, depression or disruptive conduct disorders, or clinically elevated problem levels in these areas. All participants had sought outpatient care (mean age 10.59 years; 70% male; 45% white patients). Exclusion criteria: mental retardation, pervasive development disorder, psychotic symptoms, primary bipolar disorder or primary inattention or hyperactivity.

Setting: Ten outpatient clinical service organisations (clinic offices and schools) in Massachusetts and Hawaii, USA; January 2005 to May 2009.

Intervention: Modular psychotherapy, standard psychotherapy or usual care. Standard psychotherapy involved evidence-based manualised treatments: Coping Cat cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) protocol for anxiety (16–20 sessions); Primary and Secondary Control Enhancement Training CBT protocol for depression (10–15 sessions); or Defiant Children behavioural parent training for conduct problems (10 steps). Modular psychotherapy was based on the Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression or Conduct Problems …

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  • Competing interests JRA receives grant funding from NIMH. She has also received honoraria from the California Institute of Mental Health, Hathaways-Sycamores, and conducted trainings on quality improvement for youth depression and behavioural health.