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Am Psychol. 2006 Oct;61(7):671-89.

Evidence-based youth psychotherapies versus usual clinical care: a meta-analysis of direct comparisons.

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  • 1Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02120-3225, USA.


In the debate over evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for youth, one question is central: Do EBTs produce better outcomes than the usual interventions employed in clinical care? The authors addressed this question through a meta-analysis of 32 randomized trials that directly compared EBTs with usual care. EBTs outperformed usual care. Effects fell within the small to medium range at posttreatment, increasing somewhat at follow-up. EBT superiority was not reduced by high levels of youth severity or by inclusion of minority youths. The findings underscore a need for improved study designs and detailed treatment descriptions. In the future, the EBT versus usual care genre can inform the search for the most effective interventions and guide treatment selection in clinical care.

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