Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

Abstract

Research has shown that computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) can be effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety in adults, although the outcomes with children and adolescents are unclear. The aim of the study is to systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of cCBT for the prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents. EMBASE, PsychInfo and Pubmed were searched using specific terms and inclusion criteria for cCBT studies involving young people under the age of 18. A hand search was also conducted, and the authors were contacted to identify additional papers. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. These included case series and randomised controlled trials concerned with both treatment and prevention. Six different software packages were described that varied in length and the nature and extent of professional contact and supervision. All studies reported reductions in clinical symptoms and also improvements in variables such as behaviour, self-esteem and cognitions. Satisfaction with treatment was moderate to high from both children and parents, though levels of drop out and non-completion were often high. Additional randomised controlled trials are required, as the literature is currently limited. However, preliminary evidence suggests that cCBT is an acceptable and effective intervention for this age group.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a Research for Patient Benefit grant. Thank you to the authors of the papers reviewed here for liaising with us regarding this paper.

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Richardson, T., Stallard, P. & Velleman, S. Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 13, 275–290 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-010-0069-9

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Keywords

  • Computer
  • Online
  • CBT
  • Children
  • Adolescents