Predictors of long-term cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) outcomes in adolescents treated for mixed anxiety disorders may have been identified, according to findings from a study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of 179 adolescents that investigated treatment outcomes of group CBT and individual CBT in persons with mixed anxiety disorders. Trial participants had been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder with or without comorbid generalized anxiety disorder, or separation anxiety disorder. Among participants (mean age, 15.5±2.5 years), 139 were included in the long-term (>2 years posttreatment) follow-up analysis and were studied for a mean 3.9 years (range, 2.2-5.9 years). CBT outcomes analyzed were loss of inclusion anxiety diagnosis and changes in self-rated youth anxiety symptoms.
After analysis, investigators found that key predictors of CBT outcomes were posttreatment response, demographic and parent influences, and other youth-related factors. In addition, the authors reported the most prominent result was that low family social class predicted treatment outcomes negatively (odds ratio 0.07; 95% CI, 0.01-0.55; P =.03). Improved outcomes were associated with higher treatment motivation whereas a diagnosis of social anxiety was associated with worse outcomes.
The primary study limitation was the emphasis on changes in continuous variables, as opposed to focusing on patterns of change.
“While more research is needed, the identified predictors in the present study represent important additions to the existing literature, which may help improve long-term outcome following CBT treatment in community clinics,” the researchers wrote.
Kodal A, Fjermestad KW, Bjelland I, et al. Predictors of long-term outcome of CBT for youth with anxiety disorders treated in community clinics. J Anxiety Disord. 2018;59:53-63.