Cognitive Change and Enhanced Coping: Missing Mediational Links in Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Anxiety-Disordered Children

Abstract

In this review, we examine the recent cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) outcome literature with anxiety-disordered children and, specifically, explore the status of cognitive change and increased coping ability as (1) specific treatment effects, and (2) possible mediators of the efficacy of CBT. In the past decade, the number of controlled CBT studies with clinically diagnosed anxiety-disordered children has increased substantially. CBT aims to restructure distorted or maladaptive cognitions and teach the anxious child to effectively use diverse coping strategies. Our review shows that in recent CBT research with anxiety-disordered children the use of domain-specific measures like cognitive and coping measures is, unfortunately, not common practice. Furthermore, only one study examined the issue of treatment mediation. Generally, recent CBT research has not been designed to test mediational issues and does not clarify whether cognitive change and enhanced coping—the presumed central components of CBT—are in fact responsible for its efficacy. Implications for the direction of future CBT research with anxiety-disordered children are discussed.

children cognitive change coping anxiety disorders cognitive–behavioral treatment 

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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityThe Netherlands

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