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Cogn Behav Ther. 2010;39(1):24-7. doi: 10.1080/16506070902831773.

Cognitive behavioral therapy plus motivational interviewing improves outcome for pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: a preliminary study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


Lack of motivation may negatively impact cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) response for pediatric patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Motivational interviewing is a method for interacting with patients in order to decrease their ambivalence and support their self-efficacy in their efforts at behavior change. The authors present a preliminary randomized trial (N = 16) to evaluate the effectiveness of adding motivational interviewing (MI) as an adjunct to CBT. Patients aged 6 to 17 years who were participating in intensive family-based CBT for OCD were randomized to receive either CBT plus MI or CBT plus extra psychoeducation (PE) sessions. After four sessions, the mean Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) score for the CBT plus MI group was significantly lower than for the CBT plus psychoeducation group, t(14) = 2.51, p < .03, Cohen's d = 1.34. In addition, the degree of reduction in CY-BOCS scores was significantly greater, t(14) = 2.14, p = .05, Cohen's d = 1.02, for the CBT plus MI group (mean Delta = 16.75, SD = 9.66) than for the CBT plus psychoeducation group (mean Delta = 8.13, SD = 6.01). This effect decreased over time, and scores at posttreatment were not significantly different. However, participants in the MI group completed treatment on average three sessions earlier than those in the psychoeducation group, providing support for the utility of MI in facilitating rapid improvement and minimizing the burden of treatment for families.

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