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Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for anxiety and depressive disorders in children and adolescents: an evidence-based medicine review.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Psychology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



To review the literature on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of children and adolescents with anxiety and depressive disorders within the conceptual framework of evidence-based medicine.


The psychiatric and psychological literature was systematically searched for controlled trials applying cognitive-behavioral treatment to pediatric anxiety and depressive disorders.


For both anxiety and depression, substantial evidence supports the efficacy of problem-specific cognitive-behavioral interventions. Comparisons with wait-list, inactive control, and active control conditions suggest medium to large effects for symptom reduction in primary outcome domains.


From an evidence-based perspective, cognitive-behavioral therapy is currently the treatment of choice for anxiety and depressive disorders in children and adolescents. Future research in this area will need to focus on comparing cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy with other treatments, component analyses, and the application of exportable protocol-driven treatments to divergent settings and patient populations.

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