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Parental Involvement in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children with Anxiety Disorders: 3-Year Follow-Up


Parental factors have been linked to childhood anxiety, hence, parental involvement in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxious children has been examined. However, findings do not consistently show added effects of parent-enhanced CBT, longitudinal investigations are scarce and long-term effects unclear. In the present study, 40 out of 54 families who, 3 years previously, completed one of two types of CBT treatment: with limited or active parental involvement, were assessed using semi-structured diagnostic interviews. Diagnostic status at 3-years follow-up was compared between groups. Changes in diagnostic status across assessment points: posttreatment, 6-month and 3-year follow-up were analyzed within groups. Diagnostic change from 6-month to 3-year follow-up was compared between groups. Intent-to-treat analyses revealed no significant difference in diagnostic status between groups at 3-year follow-up. Nonetheless, children whose parents actively participated in treatment showed significantly more remission from 6-month to 3-year follow-up than children with limited parental participation.

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The study was supported by grants to the Center for Anxiety from the Egmont (Grant Number 831-2205), and Helse Foundation (Grant Numbers 2008A438 and 2009A617). We wish to thank all participating children and parents for contributing to this study, as well as all staff and students who have assisted in the process.

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Correspondence to Monika Walczak.

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The authors: Monika Walczak, Barbara H. Esbjørn, Sonja Breinholst and Marie Louise Reinholdt-Dunne have no conflict of interest with respect to this publication.

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Walczak, M., Esbjørn, B.H., Breinholst, S. et al. Parental Involvement in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children with Anxiety Disorders: 3-Year Follow-Up. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 48, 444–454 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-016-0671-2

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  • Childhood anxiety
  • CBT
  • Parental involvement
  • Long-term follow-up
  • Change in diagnostic