A new study, aimed at identifying the most effective treatment protocol for adolescent anxiety, was recently conducted comparing clinic-based cognitive-behavioral therapy and online anxiety treatment. Researchers from Griffith University and the University of Queensland, in Queensland, Australia and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, enrolled 115 adolescents who had been diagnosed as being clinically anxious, along with their parents, in the study. They based their research on the theory that adolescents may respond better to virtual treatment. They said, “Computer-based therapies may be particularly appropriate for young people. They can be accessed at any time and offer a sense of privacy and confidentiality that is highly valued by adolescents.”
To determine the level of anxiety in the participants, the team relied on several tests, including the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule, which was administered to both the adolescents and their parents, via the telephone. They measured outcomes during the study using the Children’s Global Assessment Scale and the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, Parent and Child versions. The tests were given at baseline, three months after baseline and again at both the six and 12 month follow-up points. They discovered that 78 percent of the adolescents in the internet group had experienced enough relief from their symptoms to no longer meet diagnostic criteria for anxiety, versus 80 percent of the clinical CBT group. Additionally, they found that the parents and adolescents reported equal levels of satisfaction from both methods of therapy. The researchers hope this study provides more validity to the value of online therapy for anxiety. They said, “Online delivery of CBT, with minimal therapist support, is equally efficacious as clinic-based, face-to-face therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders among adolescents. This approach offers a credible alternative to clinic-based therapy, with benefits of reduced therapist time and greater accessibility for families who have difficulty accessing clinic-based CBT.”
Spence, S. H., Donovan, C. L., March, S., Gamble, A., Anderson, R. E., Prosser, S., & Kenardy, J. (2011, July 11). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Online Versus Clinic-Based CBT for Adolescent Anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0024512
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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