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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;52(2):132-142.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.11.007. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

The effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy versus treatment as usual for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized, controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Rothman Center for Neuropsychiatry, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA. estorch@health.usf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the efficacy of a modular cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocol relative to treatment as usual (TAU) among children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and clinically significant anxiety.

METHOD:

A total of 45 children (7-11 years of age) with high-functioning ASD and clinically significant anxiety were randomized to receive 16 sessions of weekly CBT or TAU for an equivalent duration. After screening, assessments were conducted at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Raters were blind to treatment condition.

RESULTS:

Youth receiving CBT showed substantial improvement relative to TAU on primary anxiety outcomes. Of 24 children randomized to the CBT arm, 18 (75%) were treatment responders, versus only 3 of 21 children (14%) in the TAU arm. Gains were generally maintained at 3-month follow-up for CBT responders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Relative to usual care, CBT adapted for anxious youth with high-functioning ASD demonstrates large effects in reducing anxiety symptoms. This study contributes to the growing literature supporting adapted CBT approaches for treating anxiety in youth with ASD.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01178385.

PMID:
23357440
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaac.2012.11.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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