No differences between group versus individual treatment of childhood anxiety disorders in a randomised clinical trial

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BackgroundThe present study compares an individual versus a group format in the delivery of manualised cognitive-behavioural therapy (FRIENDS) for children with anxiety disorders. Clinically referred children (aged 8 to 12) diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder (n = 52), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (n = 37), Social Phobia (n = 22) or Specific Phobia (n = 16) were randomly assigned to individual (n = 65) or group (n = 62) treatment.MethodAnalyses were conducted separately for the intent-to-treat sample and the sample of children who completed treatment. Analyses included chi-square comparisons and regression analyses with treatment format as a predictor.ResultsForty-eight percent of the children in the individual versus 41% in the group treatment were free of any anxiety disorder at post-treatment; 62% versus 54% were free of their primary anxiety disorder. Regression analyses showed no significant difference in outcome between individual and group treatment.ConclusionsChildren improved in both conditions. Choice between treatments could be based on pragmatic considerations such as therapeutic resources, referral rates, and the preference of the parents and the child.

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