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Family cognitive behavioral therapy for child anxiety disorders.

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Department of Education, University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.



This study compared family-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT; the Building Confidence Program) with traditional child-focused CBT with minimal family involvement for children with anxiety disorders.


Forty clinically anxious youth (6-13 years old) were randomly assigned to a family- or child-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Conditions were matched for therapist contact time. Both interventions included coping skills training and in vivo exposure, but the family CBT intervention also included parent communication training. Independent evaluator, parent, and child report measures with demonstrated validity and reliability were used to assess child anxiety symptom outcomes at pre- and posttreatment. The data analytic strategy involved an evaluable patient analysis.


Compared with child-focused CBT, family CBT was associated with greater improvement on independent evaluators' ratings and parent reports of child anxiety--but not children's self-reports--at posttreatment.


Both treatment groups showed improvement on all outcome measures, but family CBT may provide additional benefit over and above child-focused CBT. These findings provide preliminary support for the efficacy of the "Building Confidence" program and encourage further research in parental participation in treatment for childhood anxiety.

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